First, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land, the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation who walked this land before we did. We would like to pay our respects to First Nation Elders, past, present, and emerging. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and the effects of colonisation are still ongoing.
National Reconciliation week in an important week for Australia. Celebrated annually from May 27 to June 3, this week is a time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together in an effort to create a more unified Australia.
National Reconciliation Week was established in 1996, marking the anniversary of two significant events in Indigenous Reconciliation History. This week celebrates the national referendum of 1967, which recognised First Nation People in the Australian constitution for the first time. This referendum received one of the biggest “yes” votes in Australian history, and was a turning point for Indigenous-Australian Reconciliation. This week also celebrates the High Court Mabo decision of 1993, which acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as the traditional owners of the land.
This is a week of Indigenous recognition and cultural exchange. In sharing stories, culture, and history, we can better understand the challenges which Australia face in becoming a more unified nation.
This week, all Australians should pause and reflect on our Indigenous past and present. It is a time to deepen our understanding of our shared history and make ways to move forward together.
Some Australians may be wondering how to do this, so we at Australia Business News have compiled a beginners guide of how you can do your bit this Reconciliation Week.
- LISTEN to First Nation voices. Throughout history, First Nation Peoples have been oppressed and silenced. Whether through casual racism or harsh legislation, voices of Indigenous people have been socially ostracised, ignored, and dismissed. This week, if you are non-Indigenous, sit back and listen to the stories Indigenous Peoples want to tell. If you see television coverage or media posts, instead of flicking past Indigenous voices, take a moment to listen and reflect. Some of these realities may be hard to hear, but they are our history and they deserve to be heard. Making space and listening to Indigenous voices, is perhaps the most powerful thing non-Indigenous people can do in working towards reconciliation.
- Get Educated. It is surprising, but many non-Indigenous people do not know anything about Indigenous Culture at all. This week, make an effort to learn about Indigenous Culture and History in your area. Start with finding out who the Traditional Custodians of your lands are. Before colonisation, there were over 200 nation groups in Australia, all with different cultures, languages, and traditions. In Sydney, we live on Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. If you are unsure how to do this, AIATSIS is a good place to start.
– Pay your respects to Country. Once you are informed on whose land you are on, make an effort to acknowledge Country. Whether it is in a meeting at work, uni, or just with friends and family, each acknowledgement builds the collective consciousness towards Indigenous recognition. If you are unsure how to make an acknowledgement, you can learn more here.
– Follow Indigenous Facebook groups and Instagrams. Some good ones are FISTT, Reconciliation Australia, Sovereign Union, IndigenousX, The Uluru Statement of the Heart, and Yellow Borders.
– Learn the right terminology. In society, words hold an incredible amount of power. In our history, words were used as an insidious way of discriminating and oppression Indigenous people. A simple but effective way of doing your bit in Australia is learning the appropriate terminology in which to refer to Indigenous Peoples and Communities, in writing and speech. You can start learning here.
– Google, google, google. Google is your friend. It knows everything. If you have any questions about Indigenous Culture and History, google it. There are infinite resources online. But be careful. Not all online resources are reputable. Make sure they are certified or established Indigenous communities or organisations before you read.
- Consume Indigenous media and content. All year round, most Australians only consume non-Indigenous media content, so now is a good time to expand your viewing habits. This week, you can easily incorporate Indigenous media content into your routine by switching to NITV or if in Sydney tune in to Koori Radio on 93.7 fm. Additionally, you can watch Redfern Now on Stan, or any Indigenous movie such as In My Blood it Runs, Rabbit Proof Fence, or if you feel like laughing your pants off, Youtube any Black Comedy material. This is also a good way to continue your Indigenous education.
- Buy Indigenous products and support Indigenous business.
All of Australia has been affected by the economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still need to consume and trade if we are to help. Now is the time to make a conscious effort to purchase and support Indigenous products and brands. This can be anything from books, to art, to cosmetics, to food. Here is a small go to list:
- Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
- Growing up Aboriginal in Australia – Anita Weiss
- Welcome to Country – Marcia Langton
- Donate + Volunteer. Donating is one of the easiest and most helpful ways you can support Indigenous People and Communities. Many of the Facebook groups mentioned above often post about gofund me and crowdfunding campaigns which you can easily support. If money is not something you can spare in these difficult times, other alternatives include contacting your local Indigenous community centres and NGO’s to see if they need your help.
- Political Action. Indigenous reconciliation needs institutional support. Indigenous reconciliation needs action from the home all the way up to parliament. If we are to see any meaningful change, we need to be proactive in our support. Sign petitions, support Indigenous movements, vote to support Indigenous rights, and show solidarity through protest. Although it is a difficult time to show up physically, you can show support through social media by sharing Indigenous news and stories.
While National Reconciliation is an important opportunity to bring Indigenous awareness to the Australian cultural fore, we must remember the work does not end here. This week helps to highlight the richness of Indigenous culture, helping to acknowledge our Indigenous past. Yet, genuine Indigenous reconciliation requires ongoing support. We must remember, that while it is important to celebrate big historical moments, reconciliation must occur everyday. It is the small moments, the small daily acts of solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, which will move us forward, together, as a nation.
Always was, Always will be, Aboriginal Land.