How well represented are Australia's First Nations People in modern Australia today? How much does everyone really know about this nation's culture, its history, its stories?
Reconciliation began in Australia in 1967, however, Sorry Day was initiated by Kevin Rudd only eleven years ago. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still far to go. Just this week, history was made as Ken Wyatt became the first ever indigenous man as Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Incredible news, but very long overdue. You can see the full story here.
Image: Artwork by Rachael Sarra
This week we reached out to our network of artists and social media followers and asked them to tell us a little about what Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week meant to them. We received an overwhelming response and were quite moved by the messages that came through. Here is what they said...
"S O R R Y ➖ the thing about apologies is... if the same things keep happening then you tend to forget about the apology. We’ve come along way but there is still so far to go. How can we heal when we still have children removed from their culture and families. How can we heal when we are still fighting for our sacred land. How can we heal when we are still hurting on so many levels mentally, culturally and spiritually. Sorry doesn’t mean anything if we continue in the same cycles of disconnection and dispossession."
Rachael Sarra (Artist, Goreng Goreng)
Image: Melissa Greenwood and her mother.
"Today marks the day that Kevin Rudd said SORRY... for the horrendous acts of government policies in our Australian history... Today we acknowledge the loss of childhood & years of suffering and abuse that our stolen generation survivors endured... I still remember the day so clearly when Kevin Rudd read his speech tears just ran down my face with happiness that the government finally acknowledged what my mum had been through. I’m so blessed to have such a beautiful strong mother who has only kindness and love in her heart even after everything she has been through."
Melissa Greenwood (Artist, Gumbaynggirr/Dunghutti/Bundjalung)
"I believe it’s important to observe Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week as a reminder to all to tell the truth and reflect on the injustices of the past. And not just on that day, but to always walk and work together in truth and understanding for the inclusive progress of the nation."
Wendy Rix (Artist, Yuwaalaraay)
Image: Follower responses about what reconciliation week means to them.
We know that there is still so much work to be done and so much progress to be made. We believe that we can all play a part in creating a better, more united, just and understanding future. Every meaningful conversation, every extended hand, every sincere acknowledgment is a potential seed for greater change. Together, let's all do our part.
You can read more about reconciliation week at https://www.reconciliation.org.au/
What does this week mean to you? Feel free to comment with your thoughts below, we'd love to hear from you.