Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June



This week is National Reconciliation Week. It’s about celebrating the first Australians and trying to make Australia a more equal place. Amelia found out how some young people are working to bring together indigenous and non-indigenous Aussies. And a warning to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers, this story contains images of people who have died.

Larrakia petition to the Queen, 1972. On display in the Memory of a Nation exhibition. NAA: A2354, 1973/86
Petition to the Queen in 1972 that was torn in a scuffle as Indigenous people tried to present it to Princess Margaret during her visit to Darwin

ABC Behind the News

AMELIA MOSELEY, REPORTING: On a crowded beach in Perth, Jasirah was nervously getting ready for her social experiment.

Jasirah: “I set up everything, I put my blindfold on, put my arms out and I think it was like five minutes of waiting and I was just like, ‘What if no-one hugs me?,’ all these thoughts in my head.”

The minutes ticked by, but soon enough someone took up her offer.

Woman: “I trust you, do you trust me? Let’s hug. I trust you. I trust you. I trust you. Good girl.”

Jasirah’s Aboriginal and her test is all about encouraging people not to judge others by the colour of their skin.

Jasirah: “Having, like, my coloured skin, it’s pretty hard for people to get out there, ’cause a lot of people have that negative stereotype of what indigenous people are like.”

She was really shocked by a study that found about 71 per cent of Australians think people are prejudiced against Aboriginal people, and only 13 per cent reckon there’s trust between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Jasirah: “And that stat really motivated me to move towards change and encourage people to trust more rather than judge people by how they look or their race or their background.”

Even though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were in Australia long before anyone else; they haven’t always been treated the same as other Aussies, or had the same rights. For a long time, they weren’t allowed to go to the same schools, shops and hospitals as non-indigenous people and they weren’t even counted as part of Australia’s population.

Over the years some things have got better, but some still reckon the country has a lot of work to do to make sure everyone’s getting the same level of respect, understanding, and the same opportunities. That’s why, every year, schools, governments and organisations talk about reconciliation.

ab_flagTeacher : “What’s Reconciliation Week?”

BOY: “It’s for non-indigenous and indigenous people to get together.”

Just like Jasirah, these guys are working towards that in a really positive way. They’re learning about Aboriginal culture and even picking up one language called Pitjantjatjara. Today’s class is all about creating colourful art using three little words to encourage people to take action.

GIRL: “We’re making ‘change it up’ posters where we can use the words change it up.”

BOY: “I think it’d be good to go with Reconciliation Week, because I am indigenous and I just want to celebrate it.”

BOY: “It’s important to have people who actually do things about this because if you didn’t it’d just keep getting worse and worse.”

GIRL :“It’s fun as well and it helps me learn my culture.”

Some people reckon it’ll be up to you guys to help change people’s attitudes and get rid of bad stereotypes in the future.

Woman: “Aw that’s a good hug. You’re very brave to do this.”

After all, we all deserve to feel trusted, valued and respected by the people around us.