Local Elders respond to reconciliation week theme
1 June 2023
National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June – is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
At COORDINARE we believe all people have the right to be heard. We strive to listen to and respect the voices of First Nations’ people. Working in partnership to address health inequities and improve health and wellbeing for Aboriginal people in our region is a priority for COORDINARE. We are committed to ‘Closing the Gap’ in health outcomes for over 25,800 Aboriginal people on the lands of the Yuin, Dharawal, Ngunnawal/Ngambri and Ngarigo Nations.
We recently had a yarn with Aboriginal Elders from communities across our region to listen to their stories and perspectives and to record on video their responses to this year’s reconciliation week theme: 'be a voice for generations'.
This theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.
From top left Aunty Bully, Aunty Nicki, Aunty Lorraine, middle left Aunty Anna, Aunty Lynette, Uncle Bim, bottom left Uncle Geoff, bottom right Aunty Grace.
Aunty Lynette Goodwin said, "People need to be involved in reconciliation. Me and my family we walked the bridge and that was so emotional and just wonderful and to see not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people walk that bridge but people of many other colour and races. And that just swelled my heart up."
Aunty Lorraine Naylor added, "Things are not going to change overnight. I believe we need to walk together and sit around the round table and talk about issues together. I really want to see us all one big happy family.”
"A lot of people don't know anything about Aboriginals,” said Uncle Gerald Brown. “We've been on earth 65,000 years. We’re still not fully recognised by non-Indigenous people."
“We’re a very rich country with all these cultures,” said Aunty Narelle Thomas. “It’s good to know about each other’s cultures.”
“I think for a start you should listen to one another, about your ideas, point of view …. we’re all part of this world,” said Aunty Lynette Molan.
“We suffer the worst racism I reckon in our country still. Reconciliation is one of the biggest points of starting, for people to learn about our culture and the history of this country and the Blak history of this country,” said Aunty Lorraine Brown.
“We went through genocide and all that and there are still people that are living who can tell you what they’ve been through,” Aunty Nicole Archibald said.
"To this day I can cry thinking of what my parents and grandparents went through," said Aunty Denise Cram.
"When I was growing up I got sent around so I wouldn't get stolen, because I was so fair," said Aunty Anna Starr.
Aunty Lorraine added, “That’s reconciliation, learning about that and accepting that did happen in this country.”
Share these videos and start the conversation about truth telling that is so important to reconciliation.
Local elders yarn about reconciliation - video 1
More local elders yarn about reconciliation - video 2