Be a Voice for Generations
For National Reconciliation Week volunteers sent in their own Acknowledgement of Country videos to share with the University community. Students and staff from around Victoria paid their respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands in which they live, work and study on.
Saturday 27 May – Saturday 3 June marks National Reconciliation Week (NRW), an important event in Australia’s annual calendar. The University celebrates NRW with a range of events and activities for students, staff and the wider community. The day prior to the start of NRW, 26 May, is National Day of Healing (formerly known as National Sorry Day) which remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians and we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation to collectively build relationships and communities that value and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures. The theme of NRW 2023 to ‘Be a Voice for Generations’ is reflective of the need to use our voices in all situations in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.
National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for the University community to participate in a bespoke program of activities developed to facilitate learning and understanding around the five aspects critical in achieving meaningful reconciliation, namely: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity. For reconciliation to be meaningful and constructive it must involve truthful reflection of the past, ensuring the wrongs of the past are never repeated, while actively addressing issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of out national identity.
Later this year, the Australian people will vote in a yes/no referendum on enshrining in The Constitution of Australia an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to parliament and government. For those who wish to participate in or contribute to the dialogue about The Voice, a range of resources featuring University of Melbourne academic experts can be found here.
Watch Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell's Acknowledgement of Country
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What is National Reconciliation Week?
The dates 27 May and 3 June commemorate two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey.
On 27 May 1967 a referendum altered the Australian Constitution with more than 90 per cent of Australian voters saying ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Mabo decision made by the High Court on 3 June 1992 was a turning point for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' rights, because it acknowledged their unique connection with the land. It also led to the Australian Parliament passing the Native Title Act in 1993.
National Reconciliation Week (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.
Established in 2000 Reconciliation Australia (RA) is our nation’s peak body providing leadership on reconciliation.
RA encourages all Australians to carry the spirit of reconciliation in their hearts, minds and actions as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, whose uninterrupted connection to this country has endured for at least 60 000 years, distinguishing them as the oldest continuous living culture on planet Earth.
Make reconciliation part of your story, and your future.
We acknowledge that recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and that sovereignty was never ceded is vital to our purpose.
The Reconciliation process requires an ongoing effort to repair the strained relationship that has existed for hundreds of years between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. To achieve genuine reconciliation, we must foster an environment that promotes deep mutual respect among these groups, resulting in positive changes in our nation's culture and capacity.
The University will introduce its new Indigenous Strategy 2023-2027 in July 2023. The strategy will work towards profound change, positioning the University as a national and global leader in Indigenous research and higher education, and advocating for Indigenous excellence. It pledges to adopt bold, innovative, and proactive approaches in collaborating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, through 21 transformative projects aimed at embedding Indigenous perspectives across all University activities
The 2023 NRW theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in all aspects of everyday life – where we live, work and socialise.
Check out all the varied events being hosted across the University – both on campus and online.