Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week of Celebration and Reflection

Mabo Day and Sorry Day

As you begin to prepare for exams take a moment as you enter the library and reflect on the of triumph and tribulation of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The writer wishes you to take strength from the notion of National Reconciliation Week and that myself and my ancestors are here encouraging you to push through this challenging period .

This Friday the 3rd of June is Mabo Day. It commemorates the handing down of the High Court decision on the Mabo land rights case and the memory of Mr Eddie Koiki Mabo who is recognised as one of the key members of this event. On this day the case of the five plaintiffs from Mer finally was delivered in their favour. Portions of Murray (also known as Mer in traditional language) Island were recognised as still being owned by those plaintiffs in Australian law through the recognition of prior and still continuing cultural practices and laws. Our library is honoured to be named after Mr Mabo who had worked here at the university.

Mr Mabo and Torres Strait Island Special Collection items
This date is the last day in the National Reconciliation Week which starts on the May 27th anniversary of the Referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Federal government census in 1967. Also on the 26th of May was National Sorry Day which is to remember a period where interventionist state care and policies motivated by the concept of assimilation intersected. Those affected are the now commonly referred to as the Stolen Generation. These inhumane concepts of foster care and adoption also affected many non-Indigenous children in state care. It is important that we never allow this to happen again to any person regardless of background.

The Mabo library has placed on display some of our main collection relating to Mr Mabo, the land rights issues and the Stolen Generation. We have also items from our Special Collections that focus on our Torres Strait Island materials on display.

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