Celebrating Children—The Future of Reconciliation in Australia

 In Narragunnawali, News

The reconciliation movement is about recognising and healing the past and committing to a better future—a future in which we value First Australians and provide justice and equity for all. When we talk about a better future, our thoughts, hopes and concerns naturally turn to the next generation, our children.

Today is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Children’s Day). Coordinated by SNAICC and held each year on August 4th, Children’s Day is a time for all Australians to celebrate and learn about the protective influence that community, culture and family play in the lives of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and why we, as a nation, must work to minimise children in out-of-home care. This year’s Children’s Day theme, My Country, Our Country—We All Belong, is about both recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a special belonging to this Country and strengthening their pride in their cultural identity.

Reconciliation Australia supports SNAICC’s assertion that ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive is “everybody’s business”. Indeed, our nation will not reach its full potential until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can expect equality in life outcomes with the general population and are supported by a shared pride in their cultures and acceptance of their histories.

Equality and equity and historical acceptance are two dimensions out of five that are essential to achieving a reconciled nation, as outlined in Reconciliation Australia’s landmark report The State of Reconciliation in Australia. The other three key dimensions are race relations, unity and institutional integrity. As all five dimensional are interrelated, the progress of reconciliation in Australia will only ever be as strong as the weakest dimension.

Reconciliation Australia is proud to be growing its Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning program to support schools and early learning services to foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions in children from a young age. Participating schools and services are assisted to find meaningful ways to increase respect, reduce prejudice and strengthen relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Narragunnawali framework encourages schools and services to learn about and celebrate national days of significance, such as Children’s Day. In this way, we can work towards integrating reconciliation into the daily life of classrooms, school and service communities and wider society, which all play a critical role in children’s wellbeing.

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