Reconciliation Week 2020

The design of the cover image, created by Aboriginal artist Emma Walke, shows a story of connection to country and people representing the breadth of work ARTD do with Aboriginal communities across Australia. The colours are representative of the land, and the lines in between representative of the water that connects us all.

Today is the 23rd occurrence of National Sorry Day, which was established a year to the day after the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997.

It is a day for all Australians, whether they’ve been here for generations or just a short time, to take a quiet (or loud) moment to remember and recognise our Stolen Generations. To create a space to acknowledge the ongoing healing of those affected directly or indirectly within our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia.

Inflicting trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities still exists today. It is viewed as a contributing factor to drug and alcohol addiction, gambling and family violence leading to higher rates of violence, incarceration and recidivism within communities. At the National Youth Healing Forum, held in March 2017, young people talked about the devastating impact that suicide is having on their families and communities. Research done by the Black Dog Institute shows that “Indigenous Australians experience an overall rate of suicide more than double that of non-Indigenous Australians.”

If we are passionate about working towards reconciliation, it means each of us committing to deeper levels of cultural competence. If we do this, our work will better align with the empowerment and self-determination principles required for working alongside Aboriginal people, communities and stakeholders.

Running from 27 May to 3 June 2020, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a focused opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey bookend NRW — the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

This year the National Reconciliation Week 2020 theme is “In This Together”. There are many ways you can engage with the theme. Reconciliation Australia has many events listed here and is inviting all Australian to come together on social media at 12pm (AEST) Wednesday 27 May to Acknowledge Country. Use the hashtag #InThisTogether2020 #NRW2020. Some staff at ARTD will be attending a free webinar on Friday 29 May, 12pm – 1pm hosted by University of Sydney with Professor Jaky Troy. Register here.

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