20 May National Reconciliation Week 2021
Since the time of dreaming, Koongo, place of water, Yallarm, place of shells, and its environs have been the home of our First Nations peoples — the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda nations — who are the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely.
Sadly, for the Gladstone Region’s Indigenous people, knowledge of most of their specific Dreaming stories, a sacred ‘once upon a time’ story in which ancestral totemic Spiritual Beings formed The Creation – the earth and all beings on the earth, has all but vanished.
Some stories still remain.
One day our people were hunting in the Bororen area, and they came upon a giant kangaroo (Booroo).
They got such a fright at seeing this giant animal that they ran away in one direction.
The kangaroo (Booroo) also got a fright and bounded off in the other direction towards the mountains.
As Booroo tried to jump over the mountains behind Bororen he slipped and his feet got caught in the rocks and caused a landslide.
The remnants of this landslide can still be seen today if you look carefully behind the town of Bororen.
– Gooreng Gooreng elder Lindsay Johnson (Place of Water, Koongo, Place of Shells, Yallarm – Book 1 – The Dreaming to 1934 – published by Gladstone Ports Corporation)
2021 marks 20 years of Reconciliation Australia, and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.
The theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week, 27 May – 3 June, is More than a word, Reconciliation takes action.
We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we build collective relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and futures.
Actions—guided by the five dimensions of reconciliation – are recommended in the 2021 State of Reconciliation in Australia Report.
Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said for reconciliation to be effective it “must involve truth-telling and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced”.
“That is, we need to move more of our effort from focussing on the preconditions for reconciliation to focussing on more substantive change,” she said.
“In moving towards such change, it is also clear that to continue to build the network of supporters, entry into the reconciliation space must still allow for a safe place to start on the journey—to learn, to grow, to make mistakes and to build skills and capability.”
For more information on National Reconciliation Week visit: https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/
The five dimensions of reconciliation are:
All Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous cultures, rights and experiences, which results in stronger relationships based on trust and respect and that are free of racism.
Equality and equity
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participate equally in a range of life opportunities and the unique rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised and upheld.
An Australian society that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared national identity.
All Australians understand and accept the wrongs of the past and the impact of these wrongs. Australia makes amends for the wrongs of the past and ensures these wrongs are never repeated.
The active support of reconciliation by the nation’s political, business and community structures.