We reflect on some of the activities we were involved in during Reconciliation's biggest week of the year
Reconciliation SA kicked off National Reconciliation Week in South Australia with its biggest event yet. On Friday May 23, we were delighted to welcome more that 920 guests to our annual NRW Breakfast, including Aboriginal singer-songwriter Troy Cassar-Daley. Troy shared with us an insight into his upbringing, his family, his success as an artist and his take on reconciliation and recognition. You can see pictures of Troy and the Breakfast in our online galleries.
State Manager Mark Waters and Adelaide local Vonda Last performed a duet demonstrating home-grown talent and support for Reconciliation Australia's Sing Loud campaign. Mark introduced the campaign and the song 'You Raise Me Up' with a commentary on racism.
National Reconciliation Week activities were not only preceded by the Reconciliation SA Breakfast, but also by the launch of Reconciliation Plaza in Adelaide's Tarntanyannga (Victoria Square) and Sorry Day celebrations on May 26.
Tuesday May 27 marked the official beginning of National Reconciliation Week, and also commemorated the 1967 Referendum - in which over 90 per cent of Australians voted 'yes' to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as citizens of Australia. Reconciliation Week in South Australia was opened with the Don Dunstan Foundation host Professor Patrick Dodson at the University of Adelaide for the Annual Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration with over 750 people in the audience.
Patrick provided a rallying call for all Australians to join together to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian Constitution and the need to address the clauses in the Constitution that discriminate against people on the basis of race.
He covered current topics on the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act Section 18C and other items addressing Aboriginal Affairs.
In a statesmanlike address, Professor Dodson echoed his sentiments reported on the Recognise website: “Recognition of the first peoples in the Constitution sends a message that you are valued, you are important, that we want to respect you, and we want to deal with the things that have caused us division and discord in the past.”Reconciliation SA prides itself on its involvement in community events, and National Reconciliation Week is a great opportunity for the organisation to get out into the community and have a yarn about reconciliation. On Wednesday May 28 we joined the Onkaparinga council in celebrating the Southern Reconciliation Event, and on May 29 we held a stall at Tauondi College's Reconciliation in the West event. It was great to see the diversity of the community members involved in these events, from kindergarten-aged children to teenagers to adults of all backgrounds. On June 2, we joined Torrensville Primary School in a very colourful walk to celebrate NRW, and to commemorate the Long Walk.
On Friday May 30, we joined a crowd at the Aboriginal Veterans Commemorative Service to honour South Australian Aboriginal servicemen and women, who have served our country in every conflict and nearly every peacekeeping mission from the Boer War to the present day. The service was held at the beautiful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial at the Torrens Parade ground. Vietnam Veteran Frank Clarke delivered a powerful account of his tour of Vietnam, which was followed by the Ode and the Last Post.
This moving service was followed by the launch of A Special Kind of Service, a film by Malcolm McKinnon documenting the creation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial. The film features interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans and serving members, members of the Memorial Committee, the Memorial artists, as well as an insight into the seven years of hard work and dedication that led to the Memorial's creation.
Reconciliation SA was pleased to be involved in the AFL's Indigenous Round. Over the weekend of Reconciliation Week all Australian Football League clubs wore uniforms that reflected Aboriginal designs and support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Recognise theme was seen around the country over the weekend and the teams that have signed up to the Recognise campaign wore the R T-shirt. The National Football record also pursued this theme with Adam Goodes, Australian of the Year being the feature story.
The Adelaide Football Club hosted members of their Aboriginal Reference Group at their regular Chairman’s Function. Stevie Goldsmith and his troupe provided the Welcome to Country for the guests at the Chairman’s lunch while Ellie Lovegrove entertained the fans as they came into the ground. The importance of the Indigenous Round in the AFL is increasing each year.
Reconciliation SA also attended UniSA's panel discussion for its Inspiring Leadership participants on Monday 2nd June to conclude Reconciliation Week. Each of the campuses had a special focus upon Reconciliation and Recognise during the week.
Nearly 80 participants heard Tanya Hosch (Deputy CampaignDirector, Recognise), Paul Vandenbergh (Port Adelaide Football Club) and Cheryl Axleby (CEO, Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement) give their views on recognition, leadership and the place of partnership with the non-Aboriginal community.
Mark Waters, the State Manager, Reconciliation SA concluded the session by reminding all present that, as leaders, they had the opportunity to spread the word about the Recognise Campaign.Reconciliation SA was proud to participate in these events and more during National Reconciliation Week. If you'd like to know more about how you can get involved in reconciliation, sign up to our newsletter, like us on facebook, and contact us if you have any questions.