Today, the National Museum of Australia launched one such event, with the Evolution: Torres Strait Masks exhibition.

Invited guests, school groups and museum visitors were treated to a dance performance by Zugubal dance group from the Torres Strait Islands, prior to a tour of the exhibition.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase these striking objects which explore key cultural practices in the Torres Strait from both historical and contemporary perspectives,” Nation Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca said.

With the theme of NRW 2017 being ‘Let’s take the next steps’, Reconciliation Australia is encouraging all Australians to join together by engaging and taking part in special events like this exhibition, held across Australia, during NRW, 27 May to 3 June.

“From schools and local councils to Australia’s biggest corporates, there is extraordinary community momentum towards reconciliation,” said Justin Mohamed, CEO of Reconciliation Australia.

This enthusiasm is reflected in the outcomes of the 2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer which found that almost 90 per cent of the Australian general community feel the relationship between them and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is important.

Yet racism, discrimination and a denial of history continue to mar the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and other Australians, with

only one in four Australians claiming to having a high trust towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

To move these relationships forward, ‘Let’s take the next steps’ invites all Australians to play an active part by engaging with NRW activities and learning more about our shared history.

Mr Mohamed said that NRW is the ideal time for Australians to spend a few moments imagining what a reconciled Australia could look like.

“It is a place where we share genuine respect for each other.

“A place where the enduring cultures of the First Australians are fully appreciated.

“A place where racial taunts are no longer heard.

“A place where skin colour is never a factor.

“A place where prejudice does not existent.

“In short, a united Australia that acknowledges its past and is confident of its future.”

To learn more about National Reconciliation Week 2017, and to find related events happening in your local community, visit www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw.

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