It's National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3, 2023), a time to acknowledge our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and understand how we can create a reconciled Australia.
Here are five things that you can do to help build a better understanding and appreciation of the past and the present and help us on our journey towards a just and equitable future for all Australians.
Learn about and celebrate the rich diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, and develop strong relationships built on acknowledgment and respect. Reconciliation Australia explains how reconciliation will strengthen the relationship with First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians.
Include an Acknowledgement of Country in your meetings, speeches and events to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can offer an Acknowledgement of Country.
Find out more on the Reconciliation Australia website.
A Welcome to Country differs from an Acknowledgement as it is delivered by Traditional Owners, or First Nations people who have been given permission from Traditional Owners to welcome visitors to their Country.
KNOW THE LANDS ON WHICH YOU STAND
Country is the term often used by First Nations people to describe the lands, waterways and seas to which they are connected.
You might like to discover more about the lands you travel to, or where you live and work. The AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia is a great guide for discovering the traditional owners of the land across Australia.
You can also check with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Councils, or cultural centres in your local area.
THE VOICE TO PARLIAMENT
Later this year, Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Now is a great time to improve our understanding of the proposed Voice to Parliament. You can find information from Reconciliation Australia here.
CULTURAL SAFETY IS EVERYONE'S JOB
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety means that we are creating an environment where there is no challenge or denial of our First Nations patients, staff and volunteers identity or experience.
Western Health staff and volunteers can improve their cultural awareness by completing Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training available through our training platform. Try organisations such as the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), or the Koorie Heritage Trust for cultural education programs in the community.