Focal Point (for publishing-24/05/05)
Reconciliation - the Next Step
Last year for Reconciliation Week I wrote a questioning article with the title, 'Reconciliation: Is it Working?' That article was meant to take a provocative look at whether the process was still moving forward after the first flush of 'Sorry Day' events around the turn of this new century. I'm glad to announce that things are on the move again. The Shire has now inaugurated a new Aboriginal Advisory Committee to advise them on how best to implement their policies on aboriginal issues and are working on an inclusive approach to the matter. Health, education and employment training are at the top of the list and with that in mind they have invited educators from Swinburne University to sit on that committee. The Shire has also named their new initiative, 'The Next Step', and there are lots of 'next steps'. The Reconciliation Victorian Council have suggested that 'Sorry Day' be known in the future as the National Day of Healing and they have proposed the following three guiding values. 1/ RESPECT for the diversity of cultures, and the rights of all Australians, 2/ Increased understanding of Indigenous RIGHTS and heritage & 3/ RECOGNITION of the unique status of Indigenous peoples in Australia.
Reconciliation Week runs from Thursday the 26th of May to Friday the 3rd of June. Activities include:
· Thursday the 26th: A 'Sorry Day' (National Day of Healing) program at Swinburne University Lilydale Campus which will include a flag lowering Ceremony starting at 9-15am. Our Mayor Cr. David Hodgett will be a guest speaker along side Swinburne Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Barbara Van Ernst and Indigenous Community Representative Mr. Andrew Peters. Morning tea will follow at 10-10am in the Atrium.
· Friday the 27th: At 7-00pm there will be an evening of Indigenous entertainment and story telling at The Bodhi Tree Restaurant in Healsville at the 'East End', all welcome.
· Sunday the 29th: A Reconciliation Service will be held at the Liberty Family Church, Maroondah Hwy Healesville at 10-00am. Welcome by Aunty Dot Peters, Sermon by an Aboriginal Pastor with the Didgeridoo to be played by Shane Charles.
· Wednesday the 1st of June concludes the formal celebrations with an Indigenous Cultural Day of Sharing at Swinburne commencing at 10-00am and finishing at 3-00pm. Activities will include, basket ball/ volley ball games, Indigenous History Presentation, Open Discussion, Bush Tucker BBQ, Traditional Craft Workshops, Ochre Painting and Basket Coiling and music workshops and entertainment.
Come along and join in and make this Week most memorable because you learned something new and you met an Indigenous Australian.
Yes, Reconciliation is working and will continue to work where there is a will and a way to walk together in the now, acknowledging the past.
If you would like any more information ring me or Anne Jenkins at the Shire on 92946363 or Adam Frogley on 92157208.