What is National Reconciliation Week?
- Published on Wednesday 27 May, 2015
- 2 min. to read
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.
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)
What is the significance of 27 May and 3 June?
27 May and 3 June are important dates in Australia’s history. 27 May marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to remove clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
3 June marks the historic 1992 Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title— the recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights over their lands has survived British colonisation. 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision and the 45th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
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.
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 well being.