Why did you Walk for Reconciliation in the year 2000?
Why? It was the right thing to do. I had been studying at Bible college at the time and we had been involved with Aunty Jeans soup nights and also invited out to Cherboug to run a school holiday program for the community there. That was one of the most profound trips of my life.
What has changed in the last 20 years and what are you presently doing for Reconciliation?
I think the apology from the Prime Minister of the day was an important step.
We are seeing more and more of the power of acknowledgement of Traditional Owners/ Custodians and Elders in everything from people's email signatures to Anzac day services which has a power to pay the respect due to those who hold dear a culture older than any other on earth.
I have walked through the McDonnell Ranges with Amnesty International on behalf of the rights for Homelands and raised funds and awareness and supported a local reconciliation group, donated the bridge board games to libraries to encourage discussion and reflection. I support the cultures of inclusion movement in my workplace.
What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?
I would love to see schools and street names become bilingual with the local area dialects and languages and the opening of the TV news bulletin every night to include an acknowledgement of Elders. To be THAT visible and pervasive would be a sign that the respect for Aboriginal cultures and languages is high and honoured at all levels of society. This would include widespread community run justice programs, adequate funding and support for families and especially those inside the prison system, community country economic plans that don't offer just mining or resource depletion, an end to detention and mistreatment of minors (largely first nations) and provision of strong protections for Native title and actual lands rights for Homelands and so much more.
Thanks for the chance to reflect!
Here's to all involved in bringing justice and honour.