Aboriginal affairs

Time for truth on colonial atrocities

Reconciliation Australia has called for more awareness and acceptance of the way Aboriginal people were treated by colonial settlers.

The history of colonial frontier massacres continues to be contentious, with advocates arguing a lack of widespread knowledge of atrocities contributes to lack of respect.

Reconciliation Australia was created in 2001 following the disbandment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000 and is made up of prominent Aboriginal leaders.

The Morrison government has been urged by leading Aboriginal advocate Noel Pearson to call a referendum to create an aboriginal voice in parliament.

This years reconciliation tree.

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is ‘Grounded in truth, walk together with courage’.

“To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be ground in a foundation of truth,” Reconciliation Australia said.

“Australians need to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future.

“Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in the future unless we heal historical wounds.”

National Reconciliation Week runs from May 27 to June 3 every year commemorating the 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision respectively.

NRW was created to help all Australians learn about their shared histories, cultures and achievements encouraging communities nationwide to host educational events.

The University of Newcastle has undertaken a project to map all of the massacres in Central and Eastern Australia from 1788 to 1930.

The project was started in the hope mapping these events would help to raise awareness about the dark side of Australia’s colonial history.

The town of Bassendean hosted their Dandjoo Koorliny Reconciliation gathering today.

Wujak dance at Dandjoo Koorliny Reconciliation gathering

The event was aimed at bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal primary school children together to learn about their shared cultures and histories.

Bassendean Primary School teacher Taylor Bell believes Aboriginal language, culture and history should be taught with greater importance in schools.

“They need to learn about it because I’m not sure we do a great job at the moment,” he said.

“Events like the reconciliation gathering bring together kids from other schools with experts.

“The kids can see the impact and talk to people who have been impacted and they get a lot more out of it than in the classroom.”

Planting the annual reconciliation tree.