Reconciliation Week: 8 Actions You Can Take Now
The Equality Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of country across Australia, and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded - this was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
“… A reconciled Australia is one where our rights as First Australians are not just respected but championed in all the places that matter …” Kirstie Parker – Board Member, Reconciliation Australia
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and everyday commitment. Every person has a role to play. Reconciliation Australia's vision of reconciliation 'is based and measure on five dimensions: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.' Together we can work towards a future for all that is equal and just, driving change for good.
This year’s theme for Reconciliation Week is #InThisTogether. You can find a list of digital events you can tune into on the Reconciliation Australia site here.
We would like to acknowledge that we are a non-Indigenous organisation, we cannot speak for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These are actions that we have found useful in our learning and work as non-Indigenous allies.
1. Listen to, and amplify, the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Pass the mic! Create space for the voices and opinions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and always question whose voices are missing from conversations.
- Centre and value the voices and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Engage with, and share, content from First Nations people.
- Some wonderful organisations, accounts and activists you might like to check out, and engage with:
2. Donate to organisations led by First Nations people.
Pay the rent! Donate where you can to support organisations led by First Nations people. There are lots out there but here’s a list of organisations or causes you might like to check out to get started:
- Hope for Health - a program offering medical support and health services to Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land.
- Djirra - an organisation offering support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault, especially women.
- Indigenous Crisis Response & Recovery Aboriginal Corporation (ICRARAC) - responding to the crisis needs of Indigenous people throughout Australia.
- The Karrkad Kanjdji Trust - working with Indigenous Ranger groups in West and Central Arnhem Land. KKT brings together ranger groups, communities and philanthropists to address some of our nation’s most pressing issues, including environmental conservation, education and employment.
- Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy - protecting Sacred birthing trees on Djap Wurrung country from a planned highway extension that is set to destroy this dreaming landscape.
3. Educate yourself: how can we achieve reconciliation?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are part of the oldest living continuous culture in the world. That culture is rich and diverse. Learn about the land you live on and the culture and history of First Nations peoples. Educate yourself about the history of colonisation within Australia, and the history and intentions of Reconciliation Week.
- Be open to unlearning what you 'know'.
- Learn more about the aims and work of Reconciliation Australia. Find out what a Reconciliation Action Plan looks like and how to launch one.
- Educate yourself on the current issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face.
- The effects of colonisation are ongoing. Australians Together has put together a diverse resource that explores the history of invasion and ongoing social impacts today.
- Don't expect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to perform emotional or mental labour for you. Seek knowledge, show up and do the work.
4. Show up as an ally: digitally and in person (when you can).
Show up and use your privilege to support First Nations people. Ask yourself, how can you support? What could you offer? Is it time? Money? A connection? A platform? Here are some ways you could support as an ally:
- Attend events and rallies (digitally or in person) where you can.
- Engage with, and follow Indigenous platforms, activists, fundraisers and causes, to find out more about events and rallies when they happen. (See #1)
- Donate to organisations led by, and supporting, First Nations people (see #2).
- Be open to learning always and educate yourself (see #3)
- Celebrate the history and culture of First Nations people and advocate for better representation and inclusion in educational curricula and across our media.
- Support, engage with and share, national initiatives like National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC and Ochre Ribbon Week.
- Encourage the places and spaces you live, study and work in to undertake cultural diversity training and encourage others to do the same.
- Check out more information on how to be an ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here and here.
“To be an ally is to learn to stand beside me, not in front of me.”
5. Diversify your news sources.
Where do you currently access your news? What kinds of issues and stories are covered and, how, are they covered? Consider whose perspectives are prioritised through the sources you regularly engage with and how the retelling of those stories contributes to narratives - whether positive or negative - about the people they focus on. Subscribe to, and follow, diverse news sources from multiple perspectives that cover the lives and experiences of people all over the world - including those from marginalised communities. Look for news sources supported by facts.
Here are a few places you might like to check out:
6. Support Indigenous-owned brands and companies.
Look into the story, people and culture of the organisations, brands and companies you buy from. Use your money to support Indigenous-owned brands and companies. You can even seek out such organisations using the Supply Nation tool here.
- Check out Blak Business - sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses + accessible info on topics relevant to mob. Follow and engage with them on Instagram and share their content.
- Purchase tickets to workshops and events run by First Nations peoples and makers such as this online weaving class with Ngumpie Weaving.
- Love food? Charcoal Lane is a social enterprise restaurant that provides guidance and opportunity to young Aboriginal people,
- Some other brands and makers you might like to check out:
7. Call out racism: use your voice!
Every human being deserves equal rights, respect and opportunities. Racism is never ok. Use your voice and your privilege.
- Have open and honest conversations with your friends, family and peers about racism, white supremacy and colonisation.
- Call out racism when you see/hear it. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable when these situations arise. Silence perpetuates and condones racism.
- Challenge and report harmful media or publications that endorse and perpetuate racism.
- Be intersectional in your approach. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience multiple forms of oppression. It’s vital to acknowledge this and be intersectional in your feminism always.
8. Celebrate Indigenous cultures.
The culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is something to be proud of. Celebrate it! Here's a few ways to start:
- Read books by First Nations authors. Here's a list of some books to get you started and another here.
- Learn about Indigenous languages. Before colonisation, studies show there were approximately 250 Aboriginal languages spoken across Australia. Today only 145 of these languages remain, with only 18 languages being spoken widely. Check out this great news story of how a school is incorporating the Indigenous language of Kuku Yalanji into its program.
- Support First Nations artists and check out ANKA - representing almost 50 Aboriginal owned remote community Art Centres and over 5000 artists.
- Check out Culture is Life which aims to deepen connections and belonging by backing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions to prevent youth suicide and to support young people to thrive.
- Learn about the traditional owners of the land you live and work on. Consider what acknowledgement of country really means and educate yourself.
- Share the work and creations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander makers, creators, musicians, poets, writers, filmmakers, designers, artists and more, that you connect with. Spread the love!
- Check out @this_mob - the blak arts collective sharing art things that happen in so-called Melbourne & making our own spaces for us, by us.
- Listen to podcasts - check out Pretty for an Aboriginal, Wild Black Women, Awaye!, Speaking Out, Race Matters, and so many more.
- Got a question? Visit Deadly Questions and explore Aboriginal cultures, histories, ideas, opinions and Treaty in Victoria.