The two sides of reconciliation: the symbolic and the action-oriented
'The symbolic side is enormously important. There must be a respect for indigenous cultural identity and spiritual beliefs; an acknowledgement of the tragic history since white settlement, including dispossession from land and family, loss of identity, heritage, culture and language and poor treatment by a variety of institutions; and recognition of Indigenous rights stemming from the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first Australians, the original occupants and custodians of this land. Equally, action plans leading to greater social justice for Indigenous Australians are essential. There must be a renewed effort to address the serious disadvantage of Indigenous people in all key sectors, including health, education, housing, employment and community justice. There also must be a commitment to work towards fuller participation of Indigenous people in the economic, political, cultural and social life of the nation.' - Gus Nossal, Former Deputy Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and Australia of the Year
Reconciliation is a commitment to improving relationships and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. There are many dimensions to this, including political gestures such as The Apology, support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Constitutional Recognition. It also is about addressing social, economic, legal and political disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Reconciliation in many ways is about advocating for social justice, equity and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This section outlines some the key areas for advocacy and shows how the movement attempts to influence government policy.
Reconciliation is very much a people driven process and grassroots movement. This section explains the history of the peoples movement and shows how individuals and groups can get involved in reconciliation.