National Reconciliation Week 2016

1 June 2016

The 2016 theme for National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is "Our History, Our Story, Our Future", which derived from the State of Reconciliation in Australia report, asking all Australians to reflect on our national identity, and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and rights in our nation’s story.

‘Our History’ reminds us all that historical acceptance is essential to our reconciliation journey. Historical acceptance will exist when all Australians understand and accept the fact that past laws, practices and policies deeply affected the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, often having devastating immediate impacts and causing much of the disadvantage that exists today. It is also a commitment to ensuring these wrongs are never repeated in the future.

‘Our Story’ reflects the fact that the journey towards reconciliation forms a significant part of Australia’s story, as do the stories of both trauma and triumph told by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It also encourages each and every one of us to make reconciliation part of our own story.

‘Our Future’ reinforces that reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, in the knowledge that we believe in fairness for everyone, that our diversity makes us richer, and that together, we are stronger.

We were delighted to have a session of "Indigenous culture and Islam” in the previous weeks which has provoked positive thinking amongst our college community regarding aboriginal people and their culture.

Hafsa Sarwar, one of our Interfaith Ambassadors from Year 9, has written the following reflection:

"The Week of 28 May to 3 June is a very important one - National Reconciliation Week. This week honours the relationships between the true owners of this land and other Australians. Put into basic words, reconciliation is the act of causing two groups to become friendly after a disagreement. Another part of reconciliation is to make two different ideas exist or be true at the same time. The Interfaith Program's job is to push aside different religions and unite as one, which also comes under reconciliation. The theme of the latest Interfaith Program was 'Indigenous Culture and Islam'.

Through this dialogue, we explored many points of Indigenous and Muslim culture. We also invited the Wurundjeri elder, Ian Hunter to demonstrate an Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony. The point of this ceremony was to cleanse the souls and ward off evil spirits.

Al Siraat College has practised reconciliation and this ceremony was also conducted when the school was opened. This land belonged, belongs and always will belong to the Aboriginals, so we have no right to build all over it. That is also incorrect in Islamic teachings because they are the original owners we gained permission from the elders and this is reconciliation because two parties came together to an understanding."

We believe that reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of us all as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples.