Theme for 2023 “Be a Voice for Generations”
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is an annual event in Australia that takes place from May 27 to June 3. It is a time to reflect on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and to promote understanding, respect, and reconciliation. This post we will explore the history of NRW and its significance in Australia.
History of National Reconciliation Week: NRW has its roots in two significant events in Australian history; the 1967 referendum and the 1992 Mabo decision. The 1967 referendum resulted in changes to the Australian Constitution, which allowed the Federal Government to make laws for Indigenous Australians and included them in the national census. The Mabo decision recognised the land rights of Indigenous Australians and overturned the concept of "terra nullius" (land belonging to no one) that had been used to justify British colonisation of Australia.
In 1996, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was established, and it called for a formal process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In 2000, NRW was launched to provide a dedicated time for Australians to learn about and engage with the process of reconciliation.
Themes of National Reconciliation Week: Each year, NRW has a different theme that reflects a particular aspect of reconciliation. The themes are chosen by Reconciliation Australia, a non-profit organisation that promotes reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Some recent themes include "More Than a Word. Reconciliation Takes Action" (2021), "In This Together" (2020), and "Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage" (2019).
Significance of National Reconciliation Week: NRW is significant because it provides a time for all Australians to learn about and engage with the process of reconciliation. It is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to come together to share stories, experiences, and cultures. It is also a time to acknowledge the ongoing impact of colonization on Indigenous Australians and to work towards a more just and equitable future.
How to get involved: There are many ways to get involved in NRW, whether you are an individual, organisation, or community group. You can attend events, participate in cultural activities, or organise your own event or activity. Reconciliation Australia provides resources and information on how to get involved on their website.