29 May 2023

National Reconciliation Week: 27 May to 3 June

By Lenka Vodstrcil, Vaughan Macefield and Zhoujie Ding on behalf of the Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) Committee

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all of us to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements, and a time to reflect on how we can contribute to reconciliation between First Nations people and the wider community.

These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey: the successful 1967 referendum, which acknowledged the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as citizens, and the High Court's Mabo decision, in which First Nations peoples were acknowledged as the rightful owners of the lands on which we live. These two dates mark the beginning and end of National Reconciliation Week, respectively.

This year's theme, 'Be a Voice for Generations, spurs us all to be an active voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise. We are encouraged to use our power, words and actions to promote reconciliation and foster respectful relationships between ourselves and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on whose lands we share our lives.

Perhaps this week especially, and the next time you are travelling around different parts of Australia, you can research more about the Traditional custodians of the lands on where you are, and reflect on the generations that walked on these lands prior to invasion/colonisation. 

The traditional custodians of the lands from the Wirribi-yaluk (Werribee River) to Wamoon (also known as Yirik, Woomom or Wilson’s promontory), which is where the main Central Clinical School campus sits, are the Boon Wurrung/Bunurong peoples. The Wurundjeri are the traditional people and custodians of the land from the Birrarung (Yarra River) to Werribee and the Great Dividing Range, the land on which the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre sits. The Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples form part of the East Kulin Nations group of people, which includes many different language groups. 

The Central Clinical School GEDI and School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine EDI committees will be joining forces to host an event in coming weeks that will raise awareness of the roles we each need to play in understanding cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co-workers, students and patients, and decolonising our research practices. Details to come!

If you would like to attend a Monash University Reconciliation Week event at the main campus, including an event that celebrates Indigenous Perspectives in Science, details are available here.

We also encourage you to complete the Cultural Foundations: Building your knowledge of Australia's First Peoples training on My Development.

Where we live and work always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we offer our deep respect to the traditional custodians of the lands and waterways we all share.

Alfred Alliance Event:

The  Baker Institute will have two speakers for our National Reconciliation Week talk on 2 June at 12:30 – 1:30pm. The event is both in person and via Zoom. Please see this flyer for more details. Attendees who wish to join on Zoom, please email reception@baker.edu.au.

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