National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week is the focus for many Australians this week, and despite being unable to join the bustling art and culture classes at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the learning and sharing of Aboriginal culture has not slowed down.
Held annually from 27 May–3 June, National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on their national identity and history, and explore how every person can contribute to achieving reconciliation.
The significance of these dates are that they commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the 1967 Referendum acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the High Court Mabo decision.
The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2020 – In this together – is now more meaningful than ever and resonating in ways that could not have been foreseen when it was announced last year.
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the reconciliation walks held in 2000, when people came together to walk on bridges and roads across the nation and show their support for a more reconciled Australia.
National Reconciliation Week is preceded by National Sorry Day on 26 May, which acknowledges and recognises members of the Stolen Generation and commemorates the anniversary of the 1997 landmark Bringing Them Home Report tabled in Federal Government.
This report of the ‘National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families’ was the first to acknowledge the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generation. It is an appropriate day of remembrance leading us into Reconciliation Week.
As the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre remains closed, we will be acknowledging National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week on social media.
The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre Facebook page will be sharing truth-telling stories and commemorating Whadjuk leader Midgegooroo.
At the time of colonisation, he was a traditional owner of Beeliar, which included greater Fremantle, extending south to the Swan River to the Naval Base and between the Indian Ocean and Canning River.
Midegooroo was executed on 22 May 1833 for allegedly killing colonisers who were dispossessing the Whadjuk people from their land. He was the father of Yagan, Narral, Billy and Willem whose descendants live on in Whadjuk boodja or country.
The Facebook page will also be sharing some heart wrenching Stolen Generation stories, as well a community colouring-in activity for those feeling creative.
We also recommend some compelling cultural films that are free to access through the Kanopy platform using your City of Fremantle library membership.
You can find out more about Sorry Day, Reconciliation Week and plenty more Aboriginal history, culture and stories by following the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre Facebook page.