In acknowledgement of National Reconciliation Week this week, BRHS CEO Robyn Hayles sent a memo to all staff today, which is presented below.
Hayles urged the BRHS community to use the occasion of National Reconciliation Week to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
“This week BRHS acknowledges and commemorates National Reconciliation Week May 27 – June 3.
At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community.
This year the theme is: Grounded in Truth – Walk with Courage
To foster positive race relations, we believe our relationships must be grounded in truth.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth telling about Australia’s colonial history, which has been characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and often overt and unapologetic racism.
Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds. Recent research shows that 80 per cent of Australians in the general community and 91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it’s important to undertake formal truth telling processes.
Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.
Becoming ‘a little more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.’
This National Reconciliation Week (NRW), whatever your background, we’re inviting you to contribute to Australia’s national movement towards a reconciled future by becoming ‘a little more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable’ when it comes to navigating our nation’s historical truths.
Engaging in awkward conversations can be challenging. But, when done in respectful and culturally safe ways, they are especially rewarding.
We hope that truth telling will lead to more healing and stronger bonds being formed between non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I recommend a visit to our local cultural centre Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place in Delmahoy Street where advisor Rob Hudson can have some of these conversations with you to help us achieve better understanding.
Why are the dates of Reconciliation Week significant?
These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
BRHS restates its ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and this commitment is strengthened by respectful and growing relationships between our communities.”
People interested in learning more about National Reconciliation Week and the issues of race relations in Australia are encouraged to access these resources.
Reconciliation Timeline – Events that have made an impact on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The 1967 Referendum – Australians voted to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Recommended Reading – Books and research focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.
Recommended Viewing – Films, documentaries and TV programs focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.