What is National Reconciliation Week?
As described on the Reconciliation Week website, the week serves as a challenge for all Aussies to "Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians" in 2022.
"National Reconciliation Week—27 May to 3 June—is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia," the website adds.
It comes off the back of the hugely successful action in 2021, when Reconciliation Australia saw "unprecedented response to our suggested actions for everyday and for braver action".
Now the group are asking for every Australian - be they individuals, communities, businesses or governments - to put real change into motion through brave acts in their everyday lives.
This may be in their local community, their workplace or even the places they go for fun, like local venues and clubs, as we push to achieve genuine reconciliation in Australia.
Why are the dates important?
Unlike many national weeks, Reconciliation week runs based on two set dates - May 27 until June 3 - rather than adhering to each year's Monday to Sunday calendar.
"These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively," the website explains.
On May 27, 1967 Australia voted in a national referendum to decide if the Australian Government should have the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognised them in the nation's Census.
In a historic moment, over 90 per cent of Australians voted in favour of the change, making it a landmark date in the nation's history.
Then on June 3, 1992 the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision, which led to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands.
It meant Australia was no longer regarded as having been ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one) when European settlers arrived, a legal fiction Eddie Koiki Mabo had been working hard to challenge, and the decision paved the way for Native Title.
Why is Reconciliation Week important?
Not only is it an important week for Aussies to think, learn and act on important issues around reconciliation, it also serves as a jumping-off point for bigger change and conversations.
The events held during Reconciliation Week may start a discussion about reconciliation, but it's up to Australians to keep those conversations going and enact real change.
Not only that, the week serves as an important reminder of the nation's history and how we can all work towards a more unified and accepting society and culture.
"Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," the website says, and observing Reconciliation Week can serve as the first step.