National Reconciliation Week Kicks Off in Western Australia with Statewide Breakfasts

National Reconciliation Week Kicks Off in Western Australia with Statewide Breakfasts

Marking the beginning of a week-long period dedicated to learning and reflection, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) commenced in Western Australia with reconciliation breakfasts held across the state, from Albany to Karratha. National Reconciliation Week Kicks Off in Western Australia with Statewide Breakfasts

National Reconciliation Week Kicks Off in Western Australia with Statewide Breakfasts

Unity in Boorloo (Perth)

In Boorloo (Perth), more than a thousand West Australians gathered in solidarity at the Reconciliation WA event held at Optus Stadium. The event featured a cultural performance by the Karla Hart Dancers and a breakfast that included native ingredients, providing a meaningful start to NRW.

Attendees, including Elders, politicians, Stolen Generation survivors, and both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants, were warmly welcomed by Barry Winmar, who conducted a traditional smoking ceremony at the gates.

Reflecting on the Theme: ‘Now More Than Ever’

The early morning event, led by MCs Toby Millar, a proud Larrakia and Wadjigan man, and reconciliation ally Meri Fatin, encouraged attendees to reflect on this year’s NRW theme, ‘Now More Than Ever.’ This theme, chosen in response to the ‘No’ vote against enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in Australia’s constitution, serves as a reminder that reconciliation supporters must amplify the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Reconciliation WA Co-Chairs Nolan Hunter and Debra Zanella emphasized the theme’s urgency. Proud Bardi and Yawuru man Nolan Hunter highlighted that the referendum brought critical Indigenous issues to the forefront, stating, “We have to do something.”

Powerful Conversations and Presentations

The event continued in the River View Room at Optus Stadium with a dynamic program of speakers and presentations. Speaking to National Indigenous Times, Nolan Hunter stressed the importance of addressing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. “This is about Blak and white Australia, this is about us all sharing the load and coming together,” he said.

Noongar Elder Dr Richard Barry Walley OAM asked the crowd if they were ready for uncomfortable conversations, underscoring the need for these discussions for societal progress. Dr. Walley educated the audience about the Wadjemup (Rottnest Island) Project, which aims to deliver truth-telling, ceremony, and commemoration programs to acknowledge and reconcile the island’s Aboriginal prison history.

Calls to Action and Cultural Performances

Activist Herbert Bropho took to the stage, inviting Premier Roger Cook and WA Commissioner of Police Col Blanch to set aside their differences and discuss the problems facing Indigenous communities. Bropho reaffirmed his commitment to activism, telling the crowd, “Today we stand in solidarity as people who want to see a path and a future.”

The proceedings concluded with an exclusive performance from Jarred Wall and Jess Hitchcock, stars of WA Opera’s Noongar rendition of Romeo and Juliet, “Wundig wer Wilura.”

Looking Forward

Reconciliation WA CEO Jody Nunn stated that this year’s NRW events will focus on hope and a better future for Western Australia. With several events remaining in the program, participants can engage in Reconciliation Yarns and Memoirs or join the Reconciliation Walk on Friday, 31 May.

National Reconciliation Week serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing journey towards unity and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Through meaningful events and open conversations, WA continues to pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

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