2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation in Australia, and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process. We acknowledge that we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation. Together we can collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.
Photos are from a range of UNE events including; Sorry Day morning tea at Cafe Life, a Smoking Ceremony and traditional dance for Welcome Ceremony at Booloominbah, and the community Bridge Walk at Civic Park in Armidale.
Such an important discussion to have. I am a big believer that we need to acknowledge the past and to learn from it, to have a better brighter future. We still have such a long way to go to ensure everyone is treated the way they deserve – especially this nation’s first people.
Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. #NRW2021
Saying sorry needs to be backed with action. I think we all need to think about how we contribute to the national conversation, but also how we contribute (or don’t) contribute to reconciliation in our daily lives by how we treat those around us, who we decide to hire, and generally what effect we have on the structures that can include and exclude First Nations people.
National Reconciliation Week is so important for all Australians. It is a time to remember that reconciliation requires action from everyone to move forward and create strong relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
All Australians should appreciate and be proud of having one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world. This is something to build on and of course, to celebrate – Take it from a proud Egyptian who misses being so closely connected with to his own cultural ties.
I join everyone praying for inclusivity and peace. Education about the topic is important too and being familiar with the ramifications of colonisation should not be ignored. I encourage everyone to take actions that will help build a better future for Australia and the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.
I acknowledge and recognise, the terrible pain and generational trauma experienced by First Nations People in Australia. While nothing will ever fully heal the trauma and suffering of families torn apart, I hope that today and in the future, we can continue to help people to heal, recover lost stories, culture, language, and art, amplify First Nations voices, learn and rebuild all we possibly can. #MoreThanAWord
Always was, always will be.
I believe that all of us who call Australia home should have immense respect for the Country, and this lands traditional owners and custodians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people nurtured this land for thousands of years before the arrival of European fleets, and they have endured devastating hardships ever since. As someone of European descendent, I believe that the least we can offer our fellow Australians is reconciliation and acknowledgment.
Always was, always will be.
Reconciliation is more than a nationwide journey. Reconciliation is a personal journey too. We are responsible for learning the true history of Australia, and understanding the privileges we carry. Today, and every day, I recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the custodians of the land I walk and learn upon. May our actions towards the fight against inequality reflect the voices of our First Nation People; and may their culture, history, and stories forever be entrenched within the education of future generations. #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe
I’m so sorry that white assimilation policies destroyed precious foundations of first nations culture: family, community, and place. So much was lost and I want to acknowledge the ongoing grief of the nation and the need for healing.
“Most people aren’t really listening to us, proper way. Some people are listening, but not enough to really change anything big. We want the government and big rich companies to care about how we want to live in our own Country with the land protected, with the water not polluted, where there is a future for our children.” Jacky Green, Borroloola, NT.
Makarrata. It’s more than a word. It’s long overdue.
I remember walking across the Bridge in Sydney for the Sorry March – it is one of the most memorable events in my life. I was proud to be there and offer my presence, support, and my voice to this important moment in history. Since I moved to this country I have sought to understand our full history as a nation and will continue to do so. With all my heart I say again SORRY and look for personal ways to engage with reconciliation
Clare Elizabeth Taylor
Our nation can only be stronger by being together. While I recognise how much closer our society has become in the last 20 years, I still think about and work every day to ensure that the gap continues to become narrower.
Reconciliation is a collaborative effort. We must build upon the foundations laid by our ancestors, to welcome and build relationships between cultures to ensure past truths are told and embraced by non-Aboriginal people. Change won’t happen overnight, but Reconciliation will lead to greater transparency of the past actions that affected all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and still do today.
I support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, recognizing the right of First Nations people for their Voice to Parliament to be protected by the Australian Constitution. I support the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to nurture the ongoing process of agreement-making and truth-telling between the Australian Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I thank First Nations people for this beautiful statement and its invitation to walk with them.
We need reconciliation, inclusion, and a treaty, as all three are long overdue. I hope they come soon.
Dr Ian Henderson
Thank you for your wonderful Uluru Statement from the Heart. I wholeheartedly walk side by side with you in achieving all its goals.
As a 72 year old – I say “Sorry” for all the past crimes against the many Indigenous individuals and families since the time of white settlement. I am constantly being shocked at past and even present events. Even though achievements have been made, keep telling your personal stories to educate us all. Above all, believe in yourselves and in a better future. We live in a wonderful country.
Anne Marie Joachim
I support a constitutional change to fully recognize and position our First Australians in their rightful place in society. I welcome Indigenous culture, language, dance, customs, history, and speech to be taught in all Australian schools. In recognition of their successful maintenance and management of the country (Australia) for more than 40,000 years, First Australians should be granted custodial guardianship of all national parklands, reserves, and the like. Reconciliation has to be more than words, it must be action-based to be meaningful.
I am playing a small part in National Reconciliation by lecturing in Archaeology of Ancient and Indigenous Australia at my local University of the Third Age in Toowoomba. I am using knowledge gained in my archaeology degree at UNE with much assistance from local First Australians to better educate U3A members in Indigenous history, culture and traditions. Thank you UNE.
We can move forward with speed and focus on health justice and reconciliation. Valuing our First Australian history culture and communities, with dedication and timeliness, helping and encouraging this process to support our community resolve and to stay forever dedicated until full reconciliation is achieved nationwide.
I acknowledge the Awabakal People, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I have the privilege to live I give my respect to the Elders, past, present, and those who are developing and growing. I am fortunate to work with some of these people. My hope is that as we work together, we can build a better life, health, and future for our neighbours and families. I hope that I can be a part of the healing of people’s lives, communities, and the land. I hope we can share together, learn together, and grow together.
For the last twenty years, I have been on the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial committee. We have ongoing links with UNE through the Armidale Friends of Myall Creek. On Friday, June 11th, 2-4 pm there is a UNE/Myall Creek webinar with Professor Henry Reynolds. The commemoration concert and ceremony are at Myall Creek, not far from Armidale, on June 12,13.
I acknowledge that the University of New England is on Anaiwan land and I pay my respects to the traditional owners and elders, past, present, and emerging. I am sorry that Australia has been so reluctant to acknowledge its well-documented history of racism, violence, injustice, and disrespect towards First Nations Peoples. I am dismayed that our Government has not accepted the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. I recognise and object to the offence caused by naming a region “New England” when it is not new, it is far away from England, and it already has names. I am sorry for all the attempts Australia has made to erase First Nations Peoples’ culture and heritage and I lobby to stop these attempts from continuing.
Karla Elizabeth Marchant
Constitutional Recognition and a Voice to Parliament. These are only the first steps to true equality. Truth-telling is vital and it has truly begun.
Time for our nation to address the issues of recognition, truth-telling, and respect for our first nation people.
Prayers and hearts with indigenous holders of the land – may our spirits heal and be healed by the beautiful nature of this blessed land.
God made us with a singular blood color. Sorry, we divided ourselves for no reason.
Help us validate years of generational trauma so we can all positively support our children’s development, thank you
Nganhu waranayimanha nurragi – We are all walking home together. (Wajarri-English)
I have been privileged and humbled to work with First Nations artists, artworkers, and artwork. I have learnt so much from these experiences and have been constantly inspired to learn more, connect with true history no matter how painful and uncomfortable, and to try and be one small part of a process that is much bigger than myself – to contribute to reconciliation in this country and to work towards a more just an equitable Australia. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.
Find out more about National Reconciliation Week #MoreThanAWord #NRW2021
My appreciation for reconciliation is based around one truth – your story is my story, and my story is your story. When I think of myself as an Australian today, part of my identity stems back over 60,000 years of the world’s oldest continuing culture. Part of it came by boat some 250 years ago. Part of it battled its own wars before that, in what is now the United Kingdom, and part of it is reflected in the faces of our communities, of those who have arrived since.
Understanding and appreciating that the ongoing and very recent horrors of colonisation and the Frontier Wars is our shared history, is crucial in the process of reconciliation. These things happened and they are still very much felt, both institutionally, and through identity. They are our story, but they do not diminish our capacity to move forward together.
Reconciliation Week is probably one of the most significant dates in the Australian events calendar. It is a completely inclusive event that pleads for all Australians to become involved. For Non-Indigenous Australians unsure about how to celebrate Reconciliation Week, all you need to know is that you will only get it wrong when you do nothing to mark the occasion.
Let us never stop fighting for equality and the pursuit of justice for all. There is much work to be done, education to be taught and the hope is that with an open heart and mind we can work towards a better future for our First Nations people and a unified country.
Always was, always will be our Aboriginal land. Wishing all my brothers and sisters a peaceful reconciliation week.
I am so deeply sorry for the violence of my ancestors upon your peoples and your lands, and I am so deeply sorry for the ongoing trauma of this violence. I am also sorry, and so deeply ashamed by, the modern Australian institutions and corporations that willfully continue to disadvantage your peoples and destroy your lands. I’m sorry for being privileged by this rotten system.
I’d like to acknowledge the huge significance of Reconciliation Week for all Australians. In 2021 please take the time to reflect, to have a conversation, as well as to celebrate the amazing history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We still have a lot of work to do to create a more educated, tolerant and equitable society for all Australians, and we all have a part to play.
I am so pleased that my children are growing up with better education about our real history, about culture and language and music. I love that we can all share in this wonderful culture. I hope that these early steps will help lead to a brighter and fairer future for ALL people who live in Australia. I feel personally sorry for my own contributions to misunderstanding and will continue to work on my own prejudices and ignorance.
Reconciliation is a chance to remember, reflect and respect First Nations people and their history with this land upon which we live and learn. Always was, always will be.
I’m sorry for the people who don’t understand us. I’m sorry for the people who aren’t educated in the travesty that occurred to our people. I am happy that my children will know a better way. I am happy that they will tell a not-so-sorry story.
We will not forget our traumas but may we find some peace in the future.
I welcome any and all initiatives that brings us, as a Nation, closer to an authentic partnership with our first nations peoples.
I have always been impressed, as ever, by the tolerance of First Nations people forced to accept ~250 years of wilful ignorance and refusal to include First Peoples in decision-making at any level. I am now impressed by their willingness to accept the collective apology of colonists and other late arrivals, and to prosecute their case for a formal truth-telling and a voice in our collective future.
The journey towards reconciliation necessitates an introspection of the past, present, and the desired future. No doubt a lot of ground has been covered thus far, kudos to all the men and women who have kept the reconciliation wheel rolling over the last 21 years. God speed.
Sam Angulo Onapa
I want to acknowledge the First People of these unceded lands. Since the moment of colonisation and continuing to the present day, First Peoples have been dispossessed, persecuted, and oppressed in Australia. I want to acknowledge the diversity of language and culture that has endured in this landscape, and the strength and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I vow to actively participate in the reconciliation journey through my learning, my actions, my words, my thoughts and to teach the children I am growing to do the same.
Last year was a year for humility and realising what unconscious bias I have as a white person, and I’ve got to deepen into that knowledge and also take action to change things. There are many, many white people and systems that need radical change and humility. Only until we accept our humility and let go of everything that serves to keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people down in our society, will we be ready for true reconciliation to begin. I want that for our Australia.
How blessed we are to live in this ancient land with the wisdom and traditions of our First Nations peoples, and a shared future of respect and community.
I grew up with Aboriginal kids in my classes and was amazed at their skills, particularly on the sporting field. I have some wonderful memories of both the boys and girls and wish all of our Aussies, both Aboriginal and of other backgrounds best wishes. We all live in a great part of the world!
Instead of Reconciliation, it should be called recognition, equality, and inclusivity. It’s about time we give our Aborigines brothers and sisters the respect and voice they deserve. Recognise the richness of their Culture. The Western world culture is not the top model of life.
Let’s stop the discrepancy with the way children and adolescents are treated if they make a false move. By the way, their ART WORKS are amazing! Unequalled in the whole world I am sure.
Reconciliation is our most pressing need for our most Ancient Country, Land People, and all Life… How can we heal our planet of the damage done, until we heal, acknowledge, and join together as One People and bring about the three requests of our first people on thousands of deep knowing and care for this land? It is time to learn the deep truth, gain, treaty, and have the Uluru Statement accepted by all Australians as an absolute necessity now. Follow the Deep Earth Knowing of Healing for all future life and Land.
Elaine Oberg Nee Mackay
I am sorry for the arrogant way our forebears took away the land belonging to Indigenous Australians and for the cruelty they committed in the process.
The original Reconciliation Councils’ vision with Pat Dodson as the Chairperson and Linda Burney as Publicity and Promotions Officer was this “The COUNCIL’S VISION is of a united Australia which respects this land of ours, values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and provides justice and equity for all.”
Judith Margaret Mary Alacoque Browne
There is still much to do towards reconciliation and restoration in Australia. I join with others calling for action this reconciliation week that lasts into and builds towards a better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
More than just a word. Such a powerful message.
I’m very privileged to have travelled to many parts of the world, and experienced some absolutely mindblowing places and experiences; like visiting Section 8 and shanty towns in South Africa, townships in the Solomon Islands, and cultural ceremonies in New Zealand. For me, travelling has really highlighted how lucky we are here in Australia, in so many ways, but also how behind we are, with the education of our incredible 65,000 year heritage.
It would be incredible to see more; more understanding, more education, more equality. But, it’s up to all of us to step up, ask questions and enable one another to learn and support, to overcome the “the gap”. I appreciate our first nations people, and I am sorry #MoreThanAWord
This week let us acknowledge and recognise the members of the stolen generations who were taken from their family and land and never found their way back home again. We must never stop fighting for equality and justice.
We shall walk with you in the face of adversity.
I pay my respect to the traditional owners of the beautiful land that we live on, both past and present, and acknowledge their continuing ties to this land and their culture.
Putting management of land back in the hands of Aboriginal people is crucial. They have a deep knowledge of the land that needs to be heard, if it is to be kept healthy. Ignoring their knowledge is ignoring their thousands of years of learning and connection. Their voice needs to be front and centre alongside modern science when making management decisions.
I hope that Australia and all its people will recognise and acknowledge the hurt and pain experienced by so many first nations people.
I also hope that we continue to educate all people about the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; the history is both very beautiful and filled with heartache. Always Was. Always Will Be.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and respect and admire the socio-cultural, political, and economic contributions of our First Nations peoples. Time for full constitutional recognition and further progress in the Reconciliation Process!!! It has been four long years since the release of The Uluru statement of the Heart, lets get its recommendations adopted. I acknowledge and share the sadness associated with the impact of intergenerational trauma experienced by First Nations People and the continuing impacts of living in adversity. I applaud the Indigenous community’s resilience and stoicism!
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood
I hope, through continued efforts and reflection, that we can all together heal the past traumas inflicted upon Indigenous Australians by colonialisation and violence, and loss of culture. Through action, I hope we can acknowledge and dismantle oppressive cultural forces and systemic racism that exists in Australia, and instead celebrate and foster the strengthening and reconnection to Aboriginal Culture and learn from the richness of ties to country and community. We all have so much to gain through reconciliation, unity, and celebration.
For for all indigenous students and future students struggling to study!
Honoring the past but hopeful for the future.
Over the past 40 of my 73 years, I have come to appreciate, respect, and love our original owners, our aboriginal or first peoples, our indigenous brethren. I want to say I’m sorry for the havoc that white settlement has caused to you then and now, and the consequences into the future. I want to apologise for the ways in which I have contributed to the ongoing hardship, frustration, and pain that lives within this beautiful culture and resides within the cultural memory of our first peoples. My ongoing friendship with Indigenous elders and their families has helped me to develop a deep love for them and all that they represent and hold dear. If I say what I have in a way that continues to offend I am sorry for that as well.
Together, with truth telling and honesty, let us look to the past and acknowledge the strength and resilience of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations families, friends, and neighbours, who have survived the great wrongdoings of colonisation. Let us listen to and acknowledge the experiences of the past and the present, as we walk alongside each other and navigate a shared future together.
It is time to accept the constitutional recognition of our First Nations People. It is time to share knowledge and friendship as equals.
The oldest continuous culture on the planet deserves more respect. I’m SORRY. With love,
This date marks the important day for the Australians on its Reconciliation process and every citizen should participate in one way or another for the betterment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Australians in all. Their history, culture, and tradition were a great spirit of inspiration and composure to modern Australia. Should there be any reconciliations by virtue or by credits; we salute the freedom and inspirational traditional culture of the past, present and emerging be a light and strength for the coming generations. God bless Australia.
Jim Zu Kuiwah
Reconciliation week acknowledges a very gloomy part of Australian history, and the First Peoples who carry on living with the heartbreaking sorrow and loss of family and culture, originating from the Stolen Generations.
We must all play a role in the recognition and reconciliation of what has been done to Australia’s First Peoples, and the ongoing inequalities that continue today. We need to create strong relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people so we can create a better future for Australia. I promise to listen, learn and act with respect this week and every other week.
National Reconciliation week is just a very special event for every Australian, we honor the Islander peoples, as the first of the land.
We salute your achievements and contribution and the history of our country.
I now live in Austria, but it is great to see reconciliation going ahead in Australia. It’s also great to see UNE (where I did my PhD in the 1980s) supporting indigenous students and colleagues, as they achieve high academic qualifications and positions. The truth is that Australia was stolen from its indigenous peoples by Europeans, so there is now a lot of giving back to do.
So important to recall and rebirth the history of our Aboriginal people so all can value the rich and remarkable heritage. We have so much to learn.
I want to lend my support to National Reconciliation Week and to the continuing process of reconciliation with our indigenous and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.
Helen Baker OAM
I wish to add my voice to those who say they are deeply sorry. It is critical that we are starting to hear truthful history and stories, rather than the greater than 200 years of truth hidden by deliberate omission. There are still such prevailing injustices and ongoing trauma occurring.
Well said Sam Fowler – “For Non-Indigenous Australians unsure about how to celebrate Reconciliation Week, all you need to know is that you will only get it wrong when you do nothing to mark the occasion.” Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians; we all have a role to play in collectively building relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture, and future!
Listening then taking action, Reconciliation has to be a practice. We need to be open to change when listening.
Listen and learn from the stories of our indigenous brothers and sisters. Let’s ask what we can do as a community and a people to support a proud rich culture that makes up the fabric of our beautiful land Australia.
Hoping that true reconciliation will be achieved in my lifetime.
It’s time to show our understanding of the past and our commitment to work together for a shared future – Treaty Now.
We all have the shared responsibility to help Indigenous people, to preserve their culture, improve their living conditions and maximise their opportunities!
Dr Yawei Huang
Thank you to all of the past and present elders for enduring the pain and suffering from what I have learned from my Aboriginal law was downright unethical and lacked in the sovereignty that all Australians deserve.