Each year National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. It is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation journey.
NRW is held from 27 May to 3 June each year. Preceded by National Sorry Day on 26 May, NRW is bookended by two key events in Australia’s history, which provide strong symbols for reconciliation:
- 27 May 1967 – the 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 recognise them in the census.
- 3 June 1992 – the Australian High Court delivered 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 or Native Title.
This Years Theme
N.R.W has a different theme each year – the 2017 theme is ‘Let’s take the next steps’. As we reflect and commemorate two significant anniversaries of reconciliation in Australia, we look to take the next steps together in our national reconciliation story.
The theme ‘Let’s take the next steps’ reflects the nature of our Nation’s reconciliation journey so far, and looks forward, taking the next steps in this continuous journey. Earmarked by the two key anniversaries of the 1967 referendum and the 1992 Mabo Decision. In reflecting on and discussing taking the next steps it is important to acknowledge and discuss the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and reconciliation in Australia.
Answer the following questions and post as a comment below.
You will need to do some further research to answer some of the questions.
1. What does reconciliation mean?
2. Why do you think Reconciliation Australia chose this theme for National Reconciliation Week in 2017?
3. Does the poster effectively communicate a message about reconciliation? Why/why not?
4. What was the significance of the 1967 Referendum and what is the significance of its 50th anniversary in 2017?
5. What wast the significance of the 1992 Mabo decision, and what is the significance of its 25th anniversary in 2017?
6. What are some other significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey, and why is it important to commemorate these milestones?
7. What do you think some of the next milestones could or should be in Australia’s reconciliation journey and why? What might be your “next step” towards advancing reconciliation in Australia—as an individual, as a class, as a school and as a community?
Create your own National Reconciliation Week poster: Create your own poster based on the theme ‘Let’s take the next steps’. It is important to choose the right images, layout, size and quantity of text, colour and composition for effective communication and to grab your audiences attention. When creating your poster, consider what the purpose of the poster is, who the audience might be, and why certain images and text have been included in the poster.