National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between the 27th of May and 3rd of June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the Reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.
The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.
May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.
On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognized that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—that existed prior to European invasion and colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights called Native Title. JCU's Townsville library is named after the lead plaintiff Eddie Koiki Mabo and is hosting an art exhibition to commemorate the building naming.
There are lots of resources in the JCU library collection which can help you explore Reconciliation, learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures and the history of Australia.
A recommended DVD is:
Call Number: 994.0049915 FIR
50,000 years in the making. First Footprints is the incredible story of how people arrived and thrived on our continent. With startling new archaeological discoveries and art sites never seen before on television, this ground-breaking series reveals how the first Australians adapted, migrated, fought, created and innovated in dramatically changing environments, including the last ice age.
It will also be screened on the ABC Monday 25th of May at 11am and you can view extra interactive materials online at http://www.abc.net.au/tv/firstfootprints/
Another great online resource to read is Share Our Pride.
Don't forget JCU will also hold events to mark Reconciliation week and has a Reconciliation Action Plan.