National Reconciliation Week was 27 May to 3 June and this year’s theme was Our History, Our Story, Our Future.
During this week all Australians were invited to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original inhabitants of our land.
Many schools throughout Australia remembered the sorry past and prayed for healing and a new beginning.
The students from St Michael’s Primary School in Nowra each made a hand, which they decorated with symbols and artwork. The hands were then placed in the schoolyard in recognition of Sorry Day on 26 May.
On 13 February 2008 the then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd made a public apology to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This long awaited apology was welcomed by both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non Indigenous Australians.
Debra Hocking, a founder of the Stolen Generations Alliance, said: “It unburdened me. I felt a lot of things go away when he said sorry. For many of us it’s the first day of healing”. We hope that all Australians work for a united Australia, where all are welcomed and are at home.
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and this year NAIDOC Week was held on 3 to 10 July. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.
It was celebrated during the term break. This gave school staff an opportunity to join in the celebrations in their region.
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in schools, it was a busy time with organising school and community events. It was a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and an opportunity to recognise the great contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to our society and our country.