Every year, Australians celebrate Reconciliation Week from 27th May to 3rd June. This weeklong event commemorates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is also a time for all Australians to learn more about our shared history and to reflect on how far we’ve come – both as a nation and as individuals – on the shared journey of reconciliation.
The 2017 Reconciliation Week held even greater significance, as it marked two key anniversaries: 50 years since the 1967 Referendum (which saw over 90% of Australians vote in favour of giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the right to be counted in the Census), and 25 years since the 1992 Mabo decision (which recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to the land).
Reconciliation Week first began in 1996, when the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was established to foster dialogue and build relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The following year, the Council launched National Reconciliation Week with the theme “In it Together”. This theme promoted the idea that reconciliation is a journey that all Australians can take together.
Over the past two decades, Reconciliation Week has become an important part of Australia’s national calendar. Each year, events are held across the country to celebrate our diverse history and culture – there are also many opportunities for all Australians to get involved in reconciliation efforts in their local communities.
One of the most important things we can do to support reconciliation is to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This doesn’t have to be a daunting task – there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries, museums and galleries. Why not start by doing some research into films and literature that explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture?
Get involved in Australia’s next Reconciliation Week
Reconciliation Week is an important time for all Australians to reflect on our shared history and culture. It is also an opportunity for us to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ histories and cultures. By taking part in Reconciliation Week activities, we can all play a role in building a more reconciled nation.