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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Eleven Ways to Get Involved in National Reconciliation Week This Year

From weaving workshops to engaging panel discussions, there are heaps of events across the country.
By Olivia Williams
May 26, 2021
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By Olivia Williams
May 26, 2021
  shares

National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for all people of Australia to learn and acknowledge the nation's shared history, to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to reflect on how we can each contribute to reconciliation.

Reconciliation requires more than listening, learning and reflecting, which is powerfully summarised in this year's theme: More than a word. Reconciliation takes action. So, from Thursday, May 27 to Thursday, June 3, heaps of events will take place across the country to promote discussion and a commitment to reconciliation.

We've handpicked 11 events to attend IRL and online during NRW 2021 — but keep in mind that there's a huge lineup of unique events, panel discussions and workshops to explore, no matter where you are in Australia. For the full calendar of events, check out the National Reconciliation Week website.

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WARRANE (SYDNEY)

POLITICS AND ACTIVISM: THE FIGHT FOR ONGOING CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Professor Larissa Behrendt AO (Eualeyai and Gamillaroi) and Australia's first Aboriginal Senior Counsel, Tony McAvoy (Wirdi) will discuss the history and legacy of activism in Australia, as well as the need for ongoing constitutional reform at the Australian Museum Theatre. The discussion will cover the 1967 Referendum, and key achievements of activist and educator, Dr Evelyn Scott AO (Warrgamay), who was pivotal to Australia's reconciliation journey through the 1960s and 70s.

WEAVING WORKSHOPS

For the arty people in the room, come and sit with Lee Carr (Wiradjuri) to learn about Aboriginal weaving practices. Under the guidance of Carr, participants will create their own raffia fibre basket or bracelet using traditional weaving styles, while learning about the significance of weaving techniques and practices. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, with Carr hosting workshops every second day from Thursday, May 27 through Saturday, June 5 at The Bankstown Arts Centre.

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NAARM (MELBOURNE)

RECONCILIATION GATHERING

Hear, watch and participate in the living culture of Wurundjeri peoples on a site of ongoing significance for the community. The event begins with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from Wurundjeri Elders, and is followed by a Djirri Djirri Dancers sharing ceremony, and talks by Elders and leaders of the Wurundjeri community in Coburg.

Update: New restrictions for Victoria were announced on Thursday, May 27, but you can check out the online events below.

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MEANJIN (BRISBANE)

MURRI TRIVIA

Test your knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander facts at Murri Trivia at Saint Lucy Caffe e Cucina, hosted by author Professor Anita Heiss (Wiradjuri). Open to all, this is a fun way to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics, plus you can try to win some prizes along the way.

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BOORLOO (PERTH)

NYIN, NI, KOORLINY: SIT, LISTEN AND WALK

For those on Noongar Boodja (Noongar Country) — this event is a great opportunity for reflection and a chance to revisit your personal commitment to reconciliation. The event starts with a Welcome to Country by Noongar Elder Aunty Marie Taylor, followed by a discussion with Shaun Nannup (Whadjuk Noongar) about reconciliation. Visitors will also be invited to take a reflective walk on Noongar Boodja, starting from Dyoondalup (Point Walter Reserve).

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TARNDANYA (ADELAIDE)

RECONCILIATION WEEK PLANTING

Roll up your sleeves, grab your trowel and get ready to get your hands dirty. Suitable for all ages, you're invited to help Kaunra Elder, Uncle Tamaru, plant some bush tucker back while learning about Aboriginal culture. Plus, everyone gets their own bush tucker plant to take home.

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KAMBERRA (CANBERRA)

AUSTRALIAN NATION UNIVERSITY'S NRW PANEL

Hosting a panel discussion on this year's theme, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, Australian National University is bringing together both First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians for a vibrant chat that welcomes all, as reconciliation is the responsibility of all peoples. Guests include Hon Linda Burney MP (Gunni and Gunditjmara), Geraldine Chin Moody and Professor Rae Frances, led by ABC Radio National Breakfast host Fran Kelly at ANU.

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NIPALUNA (HOBART)

LUNCHTIME TOWN HALL FORUM WITH PROFESSOR MARCIA LANGTON AO

Professor Marcia Langton (Yiman and Bidjara) is speaking at a number of locations in lutruwita/Trouwunna (Tasmania) about the National Reconciliation Week theme More than a word. Reconciliation takes action. Come along early to this free event to enjoy a complimentary light lunch with tea or coffee at Hobart Town Hall.

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GARRMALANG (DARWIN)

NRW AT CITY OF DARWIN LIBRARIES

City of Darwin Libraries are hosting a number of events across their branches to celebrate the week. Along with film screenings including Storm Boy and Charlie's Country, there will be special storytime and toddler time sessions with guests.

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ONLINE

YOU CAN'T ASK THAT: MORE THAN A WORD. RECONCILIATION TAKES ACTION

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit Academic Director, Professor Tracey Bunda (Ngugi Wakka Wakka); Anthropology Museum Director, Michael Aird; and artist Gordon Hookey (Waanyi) come together for a special Q&A to confront stereotypes, prejudices, bias and discrimination during this online panel.

THE JOURNEY HOME: RECONCILIATION THROUGH REPATRIATION

Hosted by the University of Sydney online, join host Professor Larissa Behrendt AO (Eualeyai and Kamillaroi) and panellists Laura McBride (Wailwan and Kooma), Matt Poll, and Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Alyawarra) for a deep-dive discussion on the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage material. As part of the online chat, the panel will also explore the importance of returning Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains back to Australia—outlining how this forms a meaningful step towards reconciliation.

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National Reconciliation Week runs from Thursday, May 27–Thursday, June 3 nationwide. You can find an event near you — or register your own — via the National Reconciliation Week website

Top image: Celine Cheung. 

Published on May 26, 2021 by Olivia Williams

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