Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June, 2023

Reconciliation Week is a time for everyone to learn about our shared stories, histories, cultures and achievements. For 2023, the theme is “Be a Voice for Generations” which urges us all to keep up the momentum for change. 

The theme and Reconciliation Australia “encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.”  

A History of Reconciliation Week:  

  • Runs from the 27th May to the 3rd of June. Two very important dates of significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The 27th of May marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, when Australians voted to remove the clause in the Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The 3rd of June marks the 1992 Mabo decision that say the High Court of Australia recognising native title.  
  • The day before, the 26th of May is National Sorry Day, commemorating those who are apart of the Stolen Generations at the hands of the Australian Government.  

What is Reconciliation?  

  • At its core, reconciliation is an action to strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. It is an action to acknowledge the trauma of the impact of colonisation by the Government and society. It is to acknowledge the discrimination and racism that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have experienced and continue to experience. 
  • It is an on-going journey for all people in current Australia, and is a reminder to remember those who have fought hard for equal rights and continue to fight for Country and Culture.  
  • Reconciliation Week asks allies in their organisations, schools, university, community groups and workplaces to work on their own actions towards reconciliation and to amplify the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  

How to get involved:  

  1. For the community and our Allies, this is a great resource on practical and impactful actions that you can do to “be a voice for reconciliation”: 
  1. See what events are running around your workplaces and communities and attend.  
  1. Read and share the stories and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Here are some that speak to the theme from our Library catalogue:  

Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges Series)  

Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly  

Apart of an amazing series of First Nations knowledges, Songlines is an insight into the power and significance of songlines. They are complex systems of knowledges that hold stories, songs, dance, ceremonies and art. It weaves close personal and cultural storytelling from Lynne Kelle. A beautiful read on how to engage with First Nations knowledges and adapting them into our lives.  

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Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Aboriginal Women and Feminism  

Aileen Moreton-Robinson  

This book is for everyone! Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson critiques, the whiteness of Australian Feminism and how this has ignored and rejected Indigenous women. She interrogates western feminism and its rootedness in power, privilege and colonization.  

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The following books are written by Non-Indigenous authors but document important histories of First Nations activism in Australia.  

Redfern : Aboriginal Activism in the 1970s 

Johanna Perheentupa  

A great read for those wanting to learn more about Redfern (a close neighbour to the University) as the epicentre for Indigenous social justice and political movements throughout history. Within this book, you will learn about how through the determination of the community, health services, legal services, child care centres, a black theatre and schooling was established. All of these institutions still have an important legacy today.  

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Fight for Liberty and Freedom: The Origins of Australian Aboriginal Activism  

John Maynard  

Within this important read, the history of Aboriginal activism is told. From as early as invasion itself and through to today there has been resistance and activism. In the early 20th Century the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA) was established. It was a significant all-Aboriginal activist group that demanded land rights, citizenship, prevention of forced removal of children and defending cultural identity. An important history that needs to be told and remembered.   

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