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Being a Voice for Generations at Mamre

Each year, May 26 marks National Sorry Day and is followed by National Reconciliation Week that runs from May 27 to June 3. Mamre is at the beginning of our journey towards reconciliation. We’re educating both ourselves and our community about the importance of events like National Sorry Day, National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week and more as part of our commitment to reconciliation.

National Sorry Day

National Sorry Day is a day of remembrance and recognition of the mistreatment experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly the Stolen Generations. It was established in 1998 in response to the Bringing Them Home report that called for an official apology. It is a day for all Australians to reflect on the injustices of the past and recognise their ongoing impacts, and to work towards healing, understanding and reconciliation.

National Reconciliation Week 

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) plays a significant role in raising awareness, promoting dialogue and fostering positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It is a time to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how we can contribute to achieving reconciliation. Reconciliation Australia tells us that there are five dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance. 

Be a Voice for Generations 

The NRW theme for 2023, Be a Voice for Generations, challenges us to think about the generations to come and to lead from the front. It encourages us to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways.

  1. Social justice: advocate for the rights, interests and well-being of the Indigenous community and stand up against inequality, discrimination and injustice. 
  2. Education and empowerment: recognise the importance of education and support initiatives that provide cultural and academic education.
  3. Political engagement: participate in voting for policies that encourage reconciliation and engage with political representatives. 
  4. Cultural preservation: recognise the value and support initiatives that preserve Indigenous knowledge, traditions, languages and practices.

The dates of NRW commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey. 

  • 27 May is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, where a Constitutional amendment saw Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples included in the national census and gave the Australian Government the power to make laws for their benefit. 
  • 3 June is the anniversary of the 1992 High Court of Australia's landmark Mabo decision, which recognised the existence of native title rights.

Mamre’s reconciliation commitment 

As we commence our journey towards reconciliation, there is a lot of listening and reflecting to be done and much to learn. We need to understand the effects of colonisation, forced removal, dispossession and trauma as well as the remarkable strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Reconciliation is at the core of what Mamre does. In embodying our values, we also embrace the dimensions of reconciliation. 

Our commitment to reconciliation has already begun. We proudly display our beautiful Mamre Exploring Culture artwork and Acknowledgement of Country sign in our office reception, along with the AIATSIS map throughout our office to remind us of the traditional names of the lands on which we gather. We have also given our meeting rooms traditional names including Milpera (gathering of people) and Orana (welcome). 

Other activities include:

  • commissioning and supporting Indigenous artists and business including Leah CumminsYilay and Uncle Paul Calcott
  • establishing a RAP working group as part of our first steps towards creating a Mamre Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
  • supporting important days and events including NRW, National Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week 
  • reading an Acknowledgement of Country at every Mamre event, including monthly staff meetings.

We recognise this is an ongoing commitment that requires active engagement, empathy and a long-term perspective. We’re looking forward to progressing our commitment to reconciliation in the years to come and creating a legacy that makes a space for Truth telling.

This blog was written with assistance from Jillian Paull (CEO) and Kimberley Robson (Speech Pathologist).