A national week of healing – Message from head of AA
To all my AA colleagues,
A significant week of healing is upon Australia with National Sorry Day tomorrow, then National Reconciliation Week and Mabo Day the following Sunday.
National Sorry Day commemorates the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report, marking the first public recognition of the Stolen Generations, the trauma caused by the forced removal of Aboriginal children and the need for a National Sorry Day.
Events held throughout National Reconciliation Week from May 27 to June 3 will celebrate the progressive evolution of respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To coincide with Reconciliation week, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Education is working on its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The RAP is a plan to drive reconciliation throughout the department by increasing the cultural safety and awareness of the department. This inclusion and respect will create a stronger organisation.
As one of the largest employers in the state, the department’s RAP is an important opportunity to harness a significant proportion of the NSW population in all its diversity. Haylene Grogan is on the RAP Working Group representing Aboriginal Affairs.
Mabo Day on June 3 celebrates the 1992 High Court decision that dispelled the myth that Australia was terra nullius (land belonging to no one) prior to European settlement and leading to the introduction of Native Title legislation. Eddie Koiki Mabo’s courage and persistence remains an inspiration to us all.
This year’s theme of National Reconciliation Week — Don’t Keep History a Mystery — provides a chance for Australians to acknowledge the steps made in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation while facing realities in relation to the sometimes heinous historical treatment of our First Nations Peoples head on.
At Aboriginal Affairs you work to support the aspirations of the First Peoples of NSW, which also puts you at the forefront of the healing, reconciliation and land rights conversations.
Over the coming week, take some time to reflect on our history and need for healing, but also celebrate the strength and resilience of the world’s oldest living cultures.
Head of Aboriginal Affairs NSW