National Reconciliation Week commenced last Friday, 27 May and concludes this Friday, 3 June. These dates follow Sorry Day, Thursday, 26 May, and acknowledge two significant milestones on the journey towards Reconciliation – the date of the 1967 Referendum and the handing down of High Court Mabo decision.
This week Siena College has reflected on our national story in classes and House Groups and realised that, with the newly elected Government committing to The Uluru Statement From the Heart, we now face another significant moment in history as we work towards achieving Voice, Treaty and Truth for our First Nations People.
Our Wellness time in House Group this week was dedicated to learning about The Uluru Statement from the Heart. House Groups also spent time reflecting on and developing definitions of Reconciliation. These statements reflect our students’ understanding that Reconciliation involves truth telling, acknowledgement of past wrongs, forgiveness and a commitment to moving forward together.
In the words of some of our students:
Reconciliation to us means recognising Australia’s past, no matter how confronting it is. It is about acknowledging what has happened and apologising to the First Nations People. Reconciliation is not just talking about it, it’s about taking action. It is not just about asking for forgiveness, but about building trust, and showing that we empathise with them, respect, and appreciate their culture and land. House Group MWD
Reconciliation to us means an ongoing commitment to acknowledge, reflect on, and repair our connection to our Indigenous community. House Group SKD
Reconciliation means to be sorry, to make change together and use our voices for good. It means to reconcile, forgive and to heal the relationships with First Nations People, so we are all treated equally. Lola Castaldi Year 7
Reconciliation involves Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians working together to acknowledge past wrongs and move towards a future that allows people to heal. This can include expanding the recognition of land rights, equality and unity. House Group SKC
Reconciliation Week has also been a time to for us to learn about and celebrate Indigenous music, connection to Country and culture. In consultation with some of our First Nations students, we selected a range of contemplative Aboriginal music for Pause and Pray each day and more contemporary music by First Nations musicians to celebrate the end of the day. We watched videos from the homelands of some of our students and learnt some words in language. As a sign of support for Reconciliation, students were also invited to wear a Ribbon for Reconciliation, pledging to support The Uluru Statement from the Heart.
We know that the work of Reconciliation is not achieved in one week. It is a process. It takes time. But this week we made further inroads to repairing our relationships and committing to a more inclusive future for all Australians.