Australians should have a barbecue or a morning tea in honour of the National Reconciliation Week theme Let’s Talk Recognition this year, Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Leah Armstrong said today.

“We’re calling on individuals, community groups, schools and businesses to register their National Reconciliation Week events at our website launched today www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw,” Ms Armstrong said.

“We want Australians to recognise the contributions, cultures and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their own ways.

“It could be by hosting a barbecue and cooking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spices, playing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander music in your workplace or classroom or something as simple as showing your respect to elders.”

Bringing people together over a meal inspired two Australian celebrity chefs to become Ambassadors for the week: Bundjalung man Mark Olive and kitchen guru Stephanie Alexander. Posters featuring the two and promoting National Reconciliation Week can be ordered from the website.

Preceded by National Sorry Day on 26 May, which is of particular importance to the Stolen Generations, National Reconciliation Week is framed by two key events in Australia’s history, which provide strong symbols for reconciliation:

27 May marks the 45th anniversary of the 1967 referendum that saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ecognise them in the census.

3 June marks the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision, which recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a special relationship with the land. This paved the way for land rights known as native title.

National Reconciliation Week is an ideal time for everyone to join the reconciliation conversation and reflect on our shared histories, contributions and achievements.

Reconciliation Australia is encouraging as many people to register their events as possible, whether they are public or private, at the website www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw .

Reconciliation Australia is the peak body promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

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