National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and a time to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
What is reconciliation?
According to Reconciliation Australia, “At its heart, [reconciliation is] strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.”
Reconciliation Australia’s vision for reconciliation is based on five measures: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.
How can we achieve reconciliation in Australia?
In 2006, Reconciliation Australia coined the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). In the case of businesses and organisations, over 1,100 are doing their part for the reconciliation movement through these plans. RAPs assist the embedding of principles and purpose that directly impact over three million employees at work every day. Our Ability Options RAP committee is currently involved in defining tangible, achievable and strategic goals, and initiatives for our planned Stretch RAP, with the aim of these becoming business as usual.
The RAP Committee is also looking to increase genuine engagement in reconciliation across Ability Options, provide more educative pieces around the subject and will ensure we remain engaged in our RAP for the right reasons. Genuine engagement is an utmost priority for the committee, with plans to engage with First Nations’ people within the organisation and community, and to ensure they remain not only in the conversation but are shaping and informing it.
As individuals, what are some steps can we take?
Below are some examples of actions recommended by AIATSIS, Reconciliation Australia and ANTaR:
Awareness of Country – According to AIATSIS, Country is the term often used by First Nations’ peoples to describe the lands, waterways, and seas they’re connected to. The significance of Country is also akin to various other ideas ranging in complexity. These include law, language, spiritual and cultural beliefs, family, and identity.
An exercise in awareness to consider is if you know the Country you’re living, studying, or working in, and then to continually recognise the traditional owners of this land. Visit the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ (AIATSIS) for more Country resources, here.
‘Be a Voice for Generations’ – National Reconciliation Week 2023’s theme is to “Be a Voice for Generations”. Being a voice means also being an advocate, ally, and showing solidarity.
Elevate your support of First Nations’ people by:
- Attending National Reconciliation Week events
- Considering volunteering for Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR)
Listening – More than acknowledgement and awareness, it’s key we continue to listen to and learn from the world’s oldest surviving culture that’s continually expressed in many ways today.
- Exploring AIATSIS stories
- Supporting ANTaR’s campaigns
- Reading about truth-telling with Reconciliation Australia
- Reading a book by First Nations’ authors
At Ability Options, we continue to strengthen relationships, respect and understanding of our First Nations’ people. Our new Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan will outline how we further commit to building respect and creating more opportunities for First Nations’ people in our community moving forward.
We look forward to sharing more stories and history throughout National Reconciliation Week.