23 May 2007
The 3rd June marks the anniversary of the High Court of Australia's judgment in 1992 in the Mabo case. The decision recognized the Native Title Rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the original inhabitants of the continent, and overturned the myth of terra nullius - that the continent was empty, un-owned land before the arrival of Europeans in 1788.
These two dates form part of Reconciliation Week which is preceded by National Sorry Day on 26th May, a day instituted following a recommendation of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report into the forced removal of indigenous children from their families, that a day be set each year "to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects."
Unfortunately much unfinished business remains before the indigenous people of this country can be said to have attained justice and before true reconciliation is achieved.
The failure of the recent budget to address the indigenous health crisis a meaningful way is only the latest example of the failure of government to adequately address this issue. You can support the call for increased indigenous health funding to by signing the online petition to Close the Gap of 17 years between the life expectancy of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Many commemorative events and Reconciliation Week awareness-raising activities will be held around the nation during this time.
Members of the Seeds of Change group (readers of this bulleting who want to act together for justice) will be supporting Reconciliation Week by their participation in the Long Walk to Dreamtime at the G' (see details in the notification email sent to subscribers to this bulletin)