Migrant communities vital for reconciliation

As part of a concerted effort to lift engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities Reconciliation Australia will be promoting reconciliation, truth telling and justice for First Nations peoples at the National Multicultural Festival this weekend.

The reconciliation stall, jointly hosted by the ACT Reconciliation Council  and Reconciliation Australia will feature posters and other resources in ten major Australian languages other than English. 

Arabic, Greek, Italian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese are all featured in the translated resources for National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 2024 and background information on reconciliation and NRW. 

The National Reconciliation Week theme for 2024, Now More Than Ever, is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will —and must —continue. 

Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine, said that polling in the lead up to last year’s Voice referendum indicated higher levels of support for the Voice in migrant communities but also a higher level of undecided voters and people unsure of the issues. 

“It is clear that while migrant communities have a high empathy and nascent support for reconciliation and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, there is also less information available in the languages spoken by these communities,” she said. 

“The support for the Voice from 120 peak ethnic groups and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia was an indication of the views of many non-Anglo Australians but we need to build deeper relationships with all communities to improve understanding of Australia’s history and the need for First Nations’ cultures and rights to be respected.” 

Ms Mundine thanked the leaders of Australia’s migrant communities for their ongoing support and pledged that Reconciliation Australia would continue to focus on working with Australia’s diverse migrant communities.  

“Now more than ever, the work continues. In treaty making, in truth-telling, in understanding our history, in education, and in tackling racism. We need connection. We need respect. We need action. And we need change,” said Ms Mundine. “Now more than ever, we need reconciliation.” 

Just over half of Australians were either born overseas or have at least one migrant parent. And nearly a quarter of Australians speak a language other than English at home. 

The current resources are available for download from: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/our-work/national-reconciliation-week/translated-resources/ 

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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