On Thursday we gathered as a College to acknowledge the beginning of National Reconciliation Week: More than a Word. Reconciliation Takes Action. The week is bookended by significant events, 27 May marking the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted as citizens of this country. June 3 marks the historic Mabo decision when the High Court of Australia recognised native title, recognising rights over land.
Over many years Siena College has been committed to the process of reconciliation and last year commenced work on developing a Reconciliation Action Plan. A very visible demonstration of this Reconciliation Action Plan is the inclusion now of the Torres Strait Islander flag shown in unison with the Australian and Aboriginal flag at the front of the College. Yesterday we also commissioned Amelie Nikolovski as a Fire Carrier, entrusting her with the privilege and responsibility of further igniting a spirit of reconciliation with First Nations people within our community. I was very pleased to receive for the College a beautiful version of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a representation of the voices of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a 2017 presentation to Australian political leaders. The language in the statement is heartfelt and powerful and may be read here.
Included in this message is a link to an article which pays tribute to five first nations women who have changed the course of history.