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Discover Aboriginal culture in National Reconciliation Week

Posted: 11am 27 May 2020

National Reconciliation Week starts today and while COVID-19 has put a stop to community events, there’s plenty happening online for those keen to learn more about the oldest living culture in the world.

We spoke to Dunghutti/Gumbaingirr woman Carol Vale who’s the director of Murawin at Petrie and a passionate advocate for reconciliation.

The theme for National Reconciliation Week this year is In this Together – and it’s pretty timely given the challenges the entire community is facing.

“I think this theme for National Reconciliation Week in regards to bringing indigenous and non-indigenous people together is one like no other. It has incredible meaning at the moment, we’ve all had to ride the rollercoaster of COVID-19,” Carol says.

“It’s non-discriminatory – Prince Charles got it – this is about humanity and how do we exist in this place and look after it for the next generation. We’re all being made to sit and think about what’s really important and how we can live and be happy and together in our community.”

What reconciliation means to Carol

Carol grew up on an Aboriginal mission and understands first-hand the challenges persisting today for many Indigenous people.

“For me, reconciliation is important. I have four children and 10 grandchildren,” she says.

Of those 10 grandchildren, 8 have indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds.

“Reconciliation is for me critical as a grandmother and businesswoman. How do I contribute to making this world a better place for them?”

The week is bookended by two important dates – the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

“I think there still needs to be community awareness and education happening. It’s about people being able to have conversations with Aboriginal people about things that are very important. Find opportunities to find out what’s special about this place in the context of Aboriginal people. Whose traditional lands do you live on and what’s special about them?” she says

“These are stories that bring people together. It doesn’t have to divide people. It’s about finding things that they have in common that they can share for the betterment of their community. Make space for each other so we can all live happy, healthy lives and thrive.”

Ways to get involved

#1. Connect online for the National Acknowledgement of Country at noon Wednesday, May 27

#2. Tune in for a live debate: Reconciliation Bridge Walks of 2000: Paving the path for reconciliation, Facebook Live noon Thursday, May 28

#3. In Concert Together: Busby Marou, Alice Skye & Jimblah hosted by Christine Anu on Facebook Live and ABC Radio 9.05pm Friday, May 29

#4. Host an online screening of a Reconciliation Film Club documentary

#5. Host a virtual book club or reading room with the reconciliation Look for a Book reading list

#6. Download the poster to display in your front window. Share a picture on social with tags: #InThisTogether2020 and #NRW2020

#7. Groove out or chill with the reconciliation channel on Indigitube during Reconciliation Week

#8. Learn more about Nikita Ridgeway’s artwork, Reconciliation, a continuing journey of growth and togetherness for NRW 2020

#9. Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart and share with your friends

#10. Learn about the history of the Reconciliation Bridge Walks, held across Australia 20 years ago

#11. Share your photos and memories of the Reconciliation Bridge Walks on social with the hashtags: #InThisTogether2020 and #NRW2020

#12. Watch the documentary In My Blood it Runs via Vimeo and check out their free screenings for schools

#13. Follow Reconciliation Australia on social on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

#14. Cook a dish using native ingredients from your local area and share a photo

#15. Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and enterprises

#16. Get creative and hold your own virtual NRW 2020 event with family and friends

*(all times AEST) *source https://www.reconciliation.org.au/national-reconciliation-week/

Kitchen table conversations

Game Enough? Is putting together bush tucker sampler boxes for businesses and organisations wanting to learn more about Aboriginal culture and traditional foods.

“It’s bringing people together through food. Sitting around the kitchen table is always where the best conversations are had,” Carol says.

“We’re very conscious of the role food plays in bringing people together. It’s one of those ways of bringing indigenous and non-indigenous people together, put aside issues and have the conversations that need to be had. National Reconciliation Week is a chance to have them.”

Hopes for the future

Carols wants her grandchildren to get a good education, explore the world and know their culture.

“Australia is home to the oldest living culture in the world. That’s significant,” she says.

She also wants others in the community to learn more about Aboriginal culture by seeking our elders and hearing their stories.

“There’s information to be found, you just have to be brave enough to look,” Carol says.

For more information about National Reconciliation Week, head to the website.

Want to know more about how you can support your community in these tough times? Visit our blog.

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