National Reconciliation Week 2016
- Published on Monday 23 May, 2016
- 3 min. to read
What is National Reconciliation Week?
Each year from 27 May to 3 June, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The week-long celebration is an ideal opportunity for all Australians to explore ways to join the national reconciliation effort.
This year – 2016 – is particularly momentous, with Reconciliation Australia celebrating a number of anniversaries including 25 years of formal reconciliation in Australia with the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991. It is also 15 years since Reconciliation Australia was formed and 10 years of success in its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program.
When did it begin?
National Reconciliation Week began as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993 and was supported by Australia’s major religious groups. Three years later it evolved into National Reconciliation Week as we know it today under the guidance of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (now Reconciliation Australia)
26 May, 27 May and 3 June are important dates in Australia’s history.
The day before National Reconciliation Week, 26 May, is National Sorry Day, which was first held in Sydney in 1998 and is now commemorated nationally to remember and honour the Stolen Generations.
This date marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90% 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.
This date commemorates the High Court of Australia’s landmark Mabo decision in 1992, which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land. This recognition paved the way for land rights or Native Title.
What does ‘reconciliation’ mean in the context of National Reconciliation Week?
Reconciliation involves building positive, respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians; enabling us to work together to close the gaps, and to achieve a shared sense of fairness and justice.
The ultimate goal of reconciliation is to build strong and trusting relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, as a foundation for success and to enhance our national wellbeing.
How can you make a difference?
Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Make reconciliation part of your story and your future.