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Reconciliation Week is recognised every year in Australia from the 27th May until the 3rd June. This year’s theme, ‘More than a word, Reconciliation takes action’, encourages greater impactful and lasting change.

What does Reconciliation actually mean?

As Reconciliation Australia puts it, “reconciliation is a journey for all Australians” to work together to highlight the voices of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and learn about our shared cultures, histories, and achievements. This week acknowledges the history of dispossession and racism shown towards our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, calling for strengthened race relations between our Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, closing the gaps in life outcomes, valuing our First Nations histories, language and cultures, and institutional integrity.

The development of Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) are a significant step towards supporting reconciliation in businesses and communities, and are a good foundation for improving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Reconciliation WA says, “we must be more determined than ever if we are to achieve the goals of the movement — a just, equitable, reconciled Australia.”

The National Indigenous Australians Agency emphasises the need to build a relationship between all Australians that is “based on mutual trust and respect”.

Image Credit: Jessica Johnson (Nungala Creative).

Reconciliation at Curtin

Curtin’s RAP for 2018–2020 was developed by (then) Curtin Elder in Residence Prof. Simon Forrest, and Director for Corporate Values and Equity Ms Amanda Willis. Born and raised in Whadjuk (Perth) country, Simon Forrest has connections to country at Goomalling (Balardong), Swan Valley (Wajuk), Mt Magnet (Badimaya) and Leonora (Wongutha).

This RAP focuses on building cultural competency of staff and students, creating alternative learning environments (with Nowanup bush campus) and “increas[ing] the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students and their representation on governing boards and committees”. Curtin is recognised by Reconciliation Australia as “a dedicated supporter of reconciliation for ten years now, since joining the RAP program in 2008”.

Events at Curtin

You can get involved with Reconciliation Week activities at Curtin, including a ‘Wanju Curtin Mia – On Country Campus Walking Experience’ between 2–4pm from 27th May until 4th June. There is also a screening of Rabbit Proof Fence in the Ken Hall Lecture Theatre (B403.101) from 12–2pm on National Sorry Day (26th May).

Events in Boorloo (Perth)

Walk for Reconciliation will take place from Boolar Bardip in the Perth Cultural Centre to Yagan Square at 12pm on the 3rd June. This walk will finish with a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and is open to the public.

Nyin-ni-koorliny (Sit, listen and walk) is an event hosted by the City of Melville on the 30th May from 9:30–11:30am, in which attendees can listen to tales of dreaming at Dyoondalup (Point Walter) and then walk along Jenalup (Blackwall Reach). There will be a Welcome to Country by Marie Taylor and guest speaker Shaun Nannup will speak about what reconciliation means to him. This is a free event but bookings are encouraged.

Reconciliation WA – Reconciliation in Action Forum invites the leaders of the ‘Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Towards 2029 and Beyond’ project to speak on reconciliation. Speakers with interact in a Q&A-style format with audience members on the 28th May from 10:30am–12:00pm at Optus Stadium in Burswood. This is a ticketed event and there is currently a wait-list.

Reconciliation Business Action Forum (formerly the Yokai Forum) will showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander procurement and employment programs led by their partners. Tickets for non-Reconciliation WA members are $60 and it will be held in Mineral Resources Park, Lathlain on the 1st June from 9am–12pm.

Checkout the full list of reconciliation events in WA on Reconciliation Australia’s website.

Image Credit: Jessica Johnson (Nungala Creative).

What can I do this Reconciliation Week?
  • Attend a Curtin event and join in with fellow students to participate in positive action
  • Join the Walk for Reconciliation in Boorloo (Perth) and get involved in your local community event/s
  • Be sure to check out your employers RAP to see if it meets your expectations
  • Raise your voice—start a conversation about reconciliation with your mates, and hear their thoughts too
  • Listen to First Nation’s peoples voices and support their call for greater respect, trust and positive relationships between all Australians