More Than A Word: Reconciliation Takes Action 2021

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.

Growing support

According to the 2020 Australian Reconciliation Barometer there is far greater awareness of the complexity and magnitude of First Nations cultures and knowledges; and many more Australians now understand the brutal impact that British colonialism and the modern Australian state have had on First Nations families and communities.

We are seeing more people speaking up, speaking the truth, asking the hard questions, seeing the hard facts, and informing themselves about issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The 2021 theme calls on others to follow their lead by reflecting on their own contributions and striving to do more.

From awareness to action

For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truth-telling, and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced.

While we see greater support for reconciliation from the Australian people than ever before, we must be more determined than ever if we are to achieve the goals of the movement — a just, equitable, reconciled Australia.

As history tells us, this will only happen through continued and concerted action from those who are already part of the reconciliation movement to those who are yet to join.

Moving towards a braver reconciliation requires a vision for what a just equitable and reconciled Australia looks like.

These actions—guided by the five dimensions of reconciliation—are recommended in the State of Reconciliation in Australia 2021 Report.

More than a word. Reconciliation takes action banner.

2021 Artwork

The theme graphics are drawn from the artwork Action by Jessica Johnson, this artwork was commissioned by Reconciliation Australia for the  2021 theme. The full artwork will be showcased in March.

The artwork reflects our connection and mutual obligation to one another, community and country. Through commonality and difference, we have the ability to come together and achieve real change.

2021 Artist

Jessica Johnson is a descendent of the Warumungu/Wombaya people north of Tennant Creek. Born on Larrakia Country, Jessica spent her formative years among the diverse community of Canberra on Ngambri/Ngunnawal Country.

Now residing in Sydney, Gadigal Country Jessica is an established designer, artist and owner of Nungala Creative. Her work often reflects the nostalgia of her youth, an era of passionate, united community committed to realising equality and justice for First Nations peoples.

Jessica attributes much of her creative practice to her late father who was a contemporary Aboriginal artist and a political activist. She belongs to an extended creative family who use art through all aspects of life.

As an artist, Jessica works across mediums and methodologies. Renowned for her experimental aesthetic, Jessica uses her work to address issues of injustice and celebrate culture and people through her recognisably bright positive aesthetic.

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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