It is currently National Reconciliation Week 2022 here in Australia. It is held between the 27th May and the 3rd of June each year. The significance of these dates representing two major historical events. The 1967 Referendum (27th May 1967) and the success of the High Court Mabo decision on the 3rd of June 1992, in which the High Court formally recognised the pre-colonial land interests of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people within the Common Law of Australia.
In essence, it dismissed the colonial construct of ‘terra nullius’ (Latin: ‘nobody’s land’) and was an admission that, well, Captain Cook actually didn’t discover Australia. Such a paradigm occurs as simplistic, ignorant and quite arrogant in today’s society, but it is been passed down as a historical fact for generations in Australian history classes. ‘Discovery’ was an important tool to utilise in an effort to ‘justify’ the colonisation of Australia, despite the presence of First Nations people having occupied the land for 65,000 plus years – as now evidenced by science.
Reconciliation is one of those topics that I am uncomfortable with – because I am uncomfortable with the idea that we need it in the first place.
There is also the stigma that I attach to it as being government driven, and this to my mind is in some ways ironic. Still, I have been exploring some of these issues and my own meanings and opinions around them, and it’s been an mind expanding journey. In time, some of my posts here will no doubt reflect on some of these issues for they deeply affect community and environment.