2016 is a year of commemoration and celebration for reconciliation in Australia – it is a year to build a platform for understanding our nation’s history, story, and future.
The year marks a quarter of a century since the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 15 years since the establishment of Reconciliation Australia, and 10 very successful years of Reconciliation Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program.
2016 is also a year to celebrate the future, with the launch of the inaugural State of Reconciliation in Australia report by Reconciliation Australia. The Report provides momentum to re-energise and re-mobilise the reconciliation movement into the next generation..
Throughout 2016 we ask all Australians to reflect on our national identity, and our relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures, and to seek to understand and engage with reconciliation.
What is Reconciliation Week?
National Reconciliation Week is an annual celebration and is a time for all Australians to reflect on our shared histories, and on the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The week is framed by two key events in Australia’s history that provide strong symbols of the aspirations for reconciliation.
May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and recognise them in the national census. During 2016 we will be working to build support for a referendum to recognise Australia’s First Peoples in the Constitution and to remove the document’s remaining racist sections – see www.recognise.org.au for more information.
June 3 is Mabo Day – On this day in 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which overturned the notion of ‘terra nullius’ and legally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ connection to their country, a connection that existed prior to colonisation and continues today. This recognition paved the way for the Native Title system.
What can you do?
Some examples of events or activities you could plan for your community include:
- Exhibitions or performances by local Aboriginal artists, craftspeople or businesses;
- Aboriginal heritage walks and cultural tours;
- Community BBQs, Reconciliation Breakfasts or festivals featuring indigenous cuisine;
- Film screenings, poetry or book readings, festivals and concerts;
- Flying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and banners;
- Dreamtime story-telling and displays in local schools, libraries, council offices or public spaces;
- Public forums on Reconciliation or Constitutional Recognition (e.g. at the Town Hall or Library).
Or you could support activities within local schools such as Aboriginal flag raising, an art competition or display, or arrange guest speakers.
How can we help?
Reconciliation Victoria is offering small grants to local Councils and local reconciliation and community groups to assist with the planning and management of your event to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.
We are encouraging local Councils and community groups to work together, and in partnership with local Aboriginal groups or organisations, to strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and engage your entire community. We are also encouraging local Councils to contribute financially or in-kind towards the running of events, for example through contributing matching funds.
There are a limited number of small grants on offer so get your application in quickly!
We can also support you to identify relevant local groups in your area, and provide you with resources on Reconciliation Week and this year’s theme. An electronic version of the Reconciliation Week poster will be available via Reconciliation Australia’s website
We will also help to promote your event via our online Reconciliation Week Calendar - please enter your event details on our website http://www.reconciliationvic.org.au/add-event.php
How to apply
Download our Request Form. Please complete it and return it to Reconciliation Victoria by Friday 1 April 2016.