National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs annually from 27 May – 3 June.
The theme for this year is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’. During NRW, Australians from all backgrounds are inspired to walk together as they contribute to recognising reconciliation as a collaborative journey.
Read more to find out what Reconciliation week is, why we have an entire week to celebrate it, and how you can get involved in local events as well as your everyday practice!
What is Reconciliation?
In Australia, Reconciliation is the continuing process of building strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people for the benefit of all Australians.
Reconciliation can have multiple meanings, but each year Reconciliation Australia emphasises the five key interdependent components of the Reconciliation process as identified in the State of Reconciliation in Australia report (2016).
The 2019 National NRW Guide defines those dimensions as:
- Equality and Equity: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participate equally in a range of life opportunities and the unique rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised and upheld.
- Historical Acceptance: All Australians understand and accept the wrongs of the past and the impact of these wrongs. Australia makes amends for the wrongs of the past and ensures these wrongs are never repeated.
- Institutional Integrity: The active support of reconciliation by the Nation‘s political, business and community structures
- Race Relations: All Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous cultures, rights and experiences, which results in stronger relationships based on trust and respect and that are free of racism.
- Unity: An Australian society that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared national identity
Learn more at Reconciliation Australia: What is Reconciliation?
How did National Reconciliation Week begin?
In 1993, the International Year for Indigenous Peoples, National Reconciliation Week began as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation supported by the major religious communities of Australia. The first NRW was conceived by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, and in the year 2000, Reconciliation Australia was created to continue the leadership on national reconciliation. Since then, participation in NRW has increased significantly, with events held all over Australia to mark the event.
The dates of National Reconciliation Week include the anniversaries of two important historical events, the 1967 Referendum giving the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and to include them in the national census, as well as the Mabo decision in the High Court of Australia, overturning the concept of terra nullis.
How Can I Get Involved?
GPRA is proud to walk together with the Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network (IGPRN). This network, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP registrars, provides professional and cultural support to its members. All Indigenous GP registrars are invited to join IGPRN.
GPRA and IGPRN have worked together over time to build the capacity of IGPRN to support its members and operate with independence. The two organisations are proud to be partners as IGPRN’s membership numbers continue to rise, and as IGPRN proceeds towards incorporation to better support the goal of equity in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in the health workforce.
National Reconciliation Week is all about getting involved, so head over to the NRW Events page to find local events in your area all throughout the week!
There are many ways to be involved in your day to day practice as well, and GP registrars can refresh their knowledge on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health with the clinical resources below:
- Read through the NRW’s actions—guided by the five dimensions of reconciliation—in the 2021 State of Reconciliation in Australia Report.
- Prevention and management of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations (NACCHO)
- RACGP’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- RACGP’s National guide podcast
- ACRRM’s Clinical guidelines: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (ACRRM Members and Subscribers)
- Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian General Practice (RACGP)
You can also encourage your organisation to contact Reconciliation Australia and consider developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to put in place a structured approach to Reconciliation.