Reconciliation Australia has announced that the theme of the 2019 National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage.
Announcing the theme today Reconciliation Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Mundine, said that trust and truth is the basis for all strong, equitable relationships.
“Reconciliation is ultimately about relationships and like all effective relationships the one between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians must be grounded in truth,” she said. “There can be no trust without an honest, open conversation about our history.”
Ms Mundine said that the results of the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, Reconciliation Australia’s biennial community attitudes survey, showed that Australians were firmly onside with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s calls for a comprehensive process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history.
“Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and the legacy of past traumas will continue to play out in our future unless we heal historical wounds,” said Ms Mundine.
“According to the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to undertake formal truth-telling processes.”
“It encourages me that Australians are ready to come to terms with our past as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.”
During NRW, Australians from all backgrounds will also be inspired to ‘walk together with courage’ as they contribute to building stronger relationships based on historical acceptance.
“Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey does require all of us to walk together with courage towards a unified future,” Ms Mundine said.
“Truth-telling is not about engendering guilt or shame in non-Indigenous Australians but about addressing past injustices and serving as an ‘end-point to a history of wrongdoing’, allowing healing and for relationships to start anew.”
Ms Mundine said such national dialogues help progress acceptance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s calls for a First Nations constitutional voice in parliament and a formal process of truth-telling.
“These processes are not a symbolic act, but a practical process of healing that is important to all Australians.”
NRW is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The week is held annually from 27 May to 3 June and is preceded by National Sorry Day on 26 May. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Learn more about the National Reconciliation Week campaign.