Joint Media Release
Everyone is invited to walk together with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community to commemorate the important dates of Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week in a series of free events presented by Bass Coast Reconciliation Network.
Organisations across Bass Coast have joined forces with Traditional Custodians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members to present a shared event program designed to commemorate, celebrate and acknowledge the truth of our shared history to help us all grow as a region and as a nation.
Events start with a Sorry Day gathering on Sunday 26 May at the Nobbies Centre. From 11am, there will be a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony before moving inside to share a cuppa and hear stories on this significant day. Special guest speaker and performer Kutcha Edwards will share stories and songs along with other Community members. Also known as the National Day of Healing, this day of reflection was one of the key recommendations of the ‘Bringing them Home’ report tabled in Parliament in May 1997. The report was based on an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
National Reconciliation Week runs from Monday 27 May through until Monday 3 June.
“This year’s theme of Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage encourages us all to ensure that our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are grounded in a foundation of truth,” says Geoff Russell, Bass Coast Reconciliation Network Chair.
The week-long celebration builds on respectful, shared relationships and reflects on two significant anniversaries in Australia’s Reconciliation journey:
- The 1967 referendum, where more than 90% of Australian voters chose ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
- The historic Mabo decision, where the High Court of Australia decided that terra nullius should not have been applied to Australia. This decision recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have rights to the land – rights that existed before the British arrived and can still exist today.
A community event will be held at Cowes Cultural Centre on Tuesday 28 May from 11am. There will be a Welcome to Country and Flag Raising ceremony along with the launch of four commissioned artworks in celebration of the Bass Coast Reconciliation Network.
“Reconciliation to me as a Bunurong (Boon Wurrung) Traditional Custodian Man is about us all and about our life together” says Anthony Egan, member of Bass Coast Reconciliation Network.
“We, the people, all need to reconcile and take responsibility. It’s about being grounded in truth and bringing this back to Mother Earth.”
Events are being jointly organised and presented by Bass Coast Reconciliation Network comprised of: Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Health, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members.
For more information: basscoast.vic.gov.au/reconciliation
1300 720 711
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