Are young people more or less reconciled?

A youth survey launched today during National Reconciliation Week will ask whether young Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians have a better relationship than their older counterparts.

Yarn About Youth is a national survey of young people’s attitudes towards reconciliation by Reconciliation
Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

“Reconciliation is not an easy or straight-forward process; it will require fresh ideas to bring about positive
change. This is where young people come in,” Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong said.

“Young people are major players in reconciliation because over one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are aged 15 and under. If young people can build better relationships we will be making major strides towards reconciliation, nationally.” Australian Youth Affairs Coalition Executive Director, Andrew Cummings said.

The 10-minute online survey is part of a joint initiative between Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, who are committed to measuring and reporting on progress on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians and allowing young people to share their views. This survey canvases young people, whereas Reconciliation Australia’s biennial Australian Reconciliation Barometer reports on the attitudes of over 18s only.

“Yarn About Youth seeks to better understand young people’s attitudes to such things as our relationships, our levels of prejudice and whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is important to Australia’s identity as a nation,” 25-year-old Reconciliation Australia youth spokesperson Shannan Dodson said.

“We will have a number of different indicators of the quality of the relationship including trust, prejudice and the amount of contact we have with each other.

“In August this year, we will bring together representatives from key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous youth organisations for a two-day roundtable to find ways to address the barriers to young people engaging in reconciliation,” Ms Dodson said.

“National Reconciliation Week is the right time for young people and all Australians to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and their continuing contribution to Australia,” Ms Dodson said.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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