The community is invited to Maroondah’s National Reconciliation Week annual celebration event, with a special launch in Ringwood East on Tuesday 28 May.
Presented by Council in partnership with the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place (MMIGP), the free celebration is open to the public and will feature a number of activities, including the launch of Council’s first nationally endorsed Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The event will begin with a traditional Acknowledgement of Country by Aunty Irene Norman and Smoking Ceremony presented by Chris Hume, both members of the MMIGP from 11am at Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, 47-49 Patterson Street, Ringwood East.
Guests will also be treated to performances by award-winning Aboriginal singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards and Yeng Gali Mullum, as well as a screening of ‘So Deadly’, a short video developed by Kutcha and the MMIGP Hip Hop Crew.
Maroondah Mayor Cr Rob Steane said the event was an opportunity to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can join the reconciliation effort.
The theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week, from 27 May to 3 June, is Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage.
“A key aspect of Council’s pursuit of this theme will be the launch of our Maroondah Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018-2020, which reaffirms Council’s commitment to the important process of reconciliation and our desire to build strong partnerships with our local Indigenous community,” Cr Steane said.
“This is Council’s first nationally endorsed RAP and will help to create a better Maroondah, whilst also fostering a better Australia for all and redressing disparities in employment, education and health,” he said.
Kutcha Edwards, a Mutti-Mutti man, has performed regularly at Reconciliation Week activities in Maroondah and has deep connections to the local Indigenous community.
Through stories, songs and two-way conversations, Kutcha explores, defines and imparts his understanding of what it is to be an Indigenous person in Australia today and the true history that brought us to this point in time.
“Kutcha has been an important part of Maroondah’s Reconciliation Week and Sorry Day events for many years now. He will be performing a set of his own songs and will later be joined by Yeng Gali Mullum from the MMIGP for two songs that they wrote together,” Cr Steane said.
“We are very fortunate to have the MMIGP as part of our community. Their commitment to retaining, promoting and strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity in the Eastern Metropolitan region of Melbourne is formidable and has had a significant impact,” he said.
Attending the event will be more than 100 students from schools including Eastwood Primary School and Croydon Community School. Local schools are actively celebrating Reconciliation Week with many participating in the Long Walk, an event coordinated by Aquinas College and inspired by Michael Long’s walk to Canberra to get Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues back on the national agenda.
Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June
Reconciliation Week was first celebrated in 1996 and is timed to coincide with two significant dates in Australia’s history.
May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.
On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Indigenous people had a special relationship to the land – that existed prior to colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for Indigenous land rights called Native Title.