National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) is about strengthening the connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples for the benefit of all Australians.

This year’s theme, ‘In this together’ is fitting for the current circumstances we find ourselves in. From the recent bushfires to the current COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever it is crucial to understand and grow relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

At the moment, many Australians find themselves confined to their homes. Fortunately, there are still opportunities to learn about Indigenous Australian culture and history during this time of isolation.

Here are just five ways you can show your support during Reconciliation Week and learn more about Indigenous culture.

1. Learn about significant events in reconciliation

There are two dates that commemorate significant events on the road towards reconciliation.

27 May 1967 marks the referendum that saw 90 per cent of Australian voters chose ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census.

The High Court Mabo decision on June 3 1992 led to the recognition of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners of their land.

Learn about how these events impacted Indigenous Australians and the struggles they had to go through to achieve their rights.

In this together, National Reconciliation Week 2020

The logo artwork for National Reconciliation Week 2020 was created by Biripi/Bunjalung woman Nikita Ridgeway. It is entitled “Reconciliation, a continuing journey of growth and togetherness" and features the text “In this together. National Reconciliation Week 2020”.

2. Show your support on social media

A step towards reconciliation is showing respect and acknowledgement to the Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians of the land.

On the first day of Reconciliation Week this year you have the opportunity to show that acknowledgement on the social media platform of your choice.

The AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia is a great guide to find out who the Traditional Owners of the land are where you live. And if you’re a fan of hashtags then don’t forget these to help spread the message! #InThisTogether2020 #NRW2020

AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia attempts to represent all language, tribal or nation groups of the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

3. Support Indigenous arts

The Virtual Indigenous Film Festival will host a collection films about and by Indigenous filmmakers and creators.

Join the live-streamed virtual event that also offers interactive Q&As (questions and answers) and discussions with the filmmakers and creators.

Films featured include The Australian Dream, which explores the story of footballer Adam Goodes, and Namatjira Project, which details the extraordinary first-hand account of the international battle to reclaim the artwork and heritage of one of Australia’s most important Indigenous figures, Albert Namatjira.

A scene from Wik vs Queensland available via the Reconciliation Film Club.

4. Explore Indigenous histories & culture

Indigenous Australians have existed on this land for tens of thousands of years. Their history is long and expansive, and learning about it can aid in greater understanding between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.

Trails of Feeling is an interactive walking trail that emphasises local Aboriginal histories, stories and beliefs based in Melbourne CBD (central business district). It challenges the colonial histories connected to the current built environment to deepen our emotional understanding of both past and present.

You can also take a virtual tour of the First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum and learn more about the timeline of Indigenous Australians on this land.

5. Reflect on National Sorry Day

National Sorry Day takes place the day before Reconciliation Week and is an event that encourages Australians to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the country's Indigenous peoples. It is part of the ongoing process of reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and is important in growing understanding and learning from mistakes of the past.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples on 13 February 2008, particularly to the Stolen Generations whose lives had been negatively impacted by past government policies of forced child removal and Indigenous assimilation.

Find out more

Find out how VU’s Indigenous Academic Unit, Moondani Balluk supports Indigenous students, produces world-leading research, delivers courses and units with an Aboriginal focus, and promotes cultural awareness.

Visit Reconciliation Australia for more online events, and ways to get involved.

Visit VU's Indigenous Academic unit Moondani Balluk.