Commemorate Sorry Day And Celebrate National Reconciliation Week Like You Give A Damn

By Anna Franklyn
26th May 2020

An outhouse with graffiti reading

26 May 2020 is National Sorry Day and tomorrow marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week in Australia. The event runs from 27 June until 3 June each year so now seems like the perfect time to celebrate the rich history and culture of Indigenous Australians.

What’s The Difference Between Sorry Day And National Reconciliation Week?

Sorry Day is the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report, the result of the National Inquiry into the forced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, or the Stolen Generation. The day is now in place to remember the Stolen Generations and their descendants and communities, many of whom are still dealing with the trauma, all while considering ways we can help to play a part in bringing our nation closer together than ever before.

National Reconciliation Week, on the other hand, marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum—in which more than 90% of Australians (or should we say, people who were considered Australian according to the law at that time) were in favour of giving the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census— and also commemorates the High Court Mabo decision which was made on 3 June 1992. It’s a week for Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to learn about the history and culture of Australia and to think about ways that we as individuals can contribute to reconciliation. 

So, What Can You Do?

Get Involved In The National Reconciliation Week Events

COVID might mean no big gatherings, but it doesn’t mean that all events are cancelled. 

At 12pm (AEST) on Wednesday 27 May you can take to social media for a virtual acknowledgement of country. Use this AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia to find out the land you are on and then use the tags #InThisTogether2020 #NRW2020 to get involved.

On Thursday 28 May at 12pm (AEST) you can livestream the 20 Years On panel discussion hosted by Larissa Behrendt of ABC’s Speaking Out and on Friday 29 May at 9pm (AEST), tune into In Concert Together Busby Marou, Alice Skye and more. Hosted by Christine Anu, In Concert Together will be available on ABC Radio, the ABC Listen app or you can find the livestream on the Reconciliation Australia, ABC Sydney or ABC Australia Facebook pages.

Educate Yourself

If you want to get serious, you can go ahead and read the Bringing Them Home Report and see what it was really all about and what actions are still being recommended to take today. If you don’t have it in you to read the report, you can simply sit on the couch and press play a movie like Rabbit Proof Fence—if you haven’t seen this, you really should—or read a book like Sally Morgan’s incredible autobiography My Place or sink your teeth into the stories in Growing up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss. These are just a couple of my favourites, but you can get more recommendations here. You could also take a few minutes out of your day to take a spin on the Share Your Pride website which will give you a bit of insight into how life looks for Indigenous Australians.

Fill Your Feed

A really easy way to educate yourself? Fill your social feeds with the accounts of some amazing and creative Indigenous Australians.

One of my all time favourites is Blak Business, an account run by a Koori Woman, Olivia, who features Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs and creatives, but she also breaks down some pretty tricky concepts and makes them super simple to understand. You could very easily fall down a rabbit hole and follow everyone she has ever featured, and I wouldn’t blame you one bit.

You might also want to check out Ginny’s Girl Gang and her epic jackets with a voice.

Image credit: Alessia Francischiello 

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