For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the impact of Australia’s colonial history has transcended amongst generations. The trauma of land dispossession, violence, and racism towards Indigenous Australians has been detrimental for cultural identity and spirituality. The last half century has seen steps towards sizeable action for justice for Indigenous communities. The vision of reconciliation relies on five dimensions: historical acceptance, race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity and unity.
This years National Reconciliation Week, starting Wednesday May 27, will mark two decades since 250,000 Australians walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and bridges in other cities around Australia, to ‘bridge the gap’ between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
‘Bridge the gap’ refers to the 10 year gap in the average life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Access to health and education for Indigenous Australians are the main causes of the divergence.
“Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …”Karen Mundine – Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
Reconciliation is an ongoing process and there are many opportunities to get involved throughout the year
26 May: National Sorry Day is a day of healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities
13 February: The Anniversary of the Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in particular members of the Stolen Generations
27 May: The anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the start of National Reconciliation Week
3 June: Mabo Day, when the High Court of Australia recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a special relationship to the land
Featured image: Native Encampment by Skinner Prout, from Australia (1876, vol II)