Conversations remain paramount as Reconciliation Day activities move online

Dominic Giannini 25 May 2020
Reconciliation Day

Although Reconciliation Day will have a different look this year, the core principles of the day will still be on offer to the community. Photo: Dr Chris Bourke Twitter.

Physically coming together for Reconciliation Day on 1 June won’t be possible this year due to social distancing, but Canberrans will still have the opportunity to participate in the ACT’s third annual Reconciliation Day as activities have moved online.

Free and family-friendly activities will still be on offer throughout the day to promote a conversation and a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture and heritage.

Postcards will be delivered to all households by late May for Canberrans to write a pledge of reconciliation and share their message online with the hashtag #ReconciliationDayCBR.

Former ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister and co-chair of the ACT Reconciliation Council Dr Chris Bourke says the day can still be used to strengthen community ties and teach people about the importance of reconciliation as moving online provides its own opportunities.

“Reconciliation is about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and non-indigenous Australians coming together and working to build a better relationship, dealing with the true history of Australia and also dealing with racism,” he told Region Media.

“[Postcards are] going to be sent to homes across Canberra where people can really have a think and have a discussion amongst themselves, which is probably the most important part of it all, about what reconciliation might mean to them.

“What the Reconciliation Council thinks is most important is stimulating conversation.”

Events ACT will also stream Caring for Country and Understanding Bush Tucker workshops on its YouTube channel to share Indigenous culture, not only with Territorians and the Canberra region but with anyone who wants to participate online.

“Reconciliation Day has, over the last couple of years, revolved around a public event where the community gathered and we were able to take people on a journey and provide them with information about reconciliation,” Dr Bourke said.

“The opportunity coming out of this shift to online could reach people who may not have come to the park on Reconciliation Day to witness and be part of the events there.

“This may give us a different audience in a different way and that might be one of the good things to come out of this shift to a virtual event.”

Dr Chris Bourke

Dr Chris Bourke says Reconciliation Day can still be used to strengthen community ties and teach people about the importance of indigenous culture and heritage. Photo: File.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith said this year’s theme of ‘In This Together’ is more pertinent than ever as Canberrans work to overcome the pandemic.

“The theme is about us being strong together, strengthening partnerships between individuals and communities built on trust and respect, free of racism and discrimination,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“There are a host of things to look forward to this year with a range of free and family-friendly activities available. These activities have been designed to promote conversation about reconciliation and foster a deeper understanding of Australia’s true history.”

The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to make National Reconciliation Day a public holiday in 2018.

For more information about Reconciliation Day, including activities, visit Events ACT.


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