Monday, June 07, 2010

let's walk the mile, let's reconcile

It was great to join with community to celebrate reconciliation week last week. Speakers on the day included elders, Aunty Dot Peters and Uncle Henry Atkinson.

Aunty Dot and I at the Let's Walk the Mile, Let's Reconcile celebration in Healesville. Yarra Ranges was the first government of any tier to formally say sorry to indigenous people. We are committed and proud to stand by our indigenous community.

Uncle Henry Atkinson talked about the lack of equality for indigenous people when it came to employment, education, housing and health. He talked about the lack of fairness and equality and that there has been no compensation for the Stolen Generation.

Uncle Henry's went on to say "our ancestors didn't give up and neither should we". Compelling, as always, Uncle Henry is a strong advocate for reconciliation and indigenous rights.

Part of celebrations included the launch of the Shire's Practical Indigenous Protocols. The protocols are a practical guide for working with the indigenous community in the Shire. It has broad application and helps people gain an understanding of our Indigenous heritage and history and to acknowledge and learn how this affects us today.

The protocols talk about how to communicate and collaborate together with respect and in a culturally appropriate fashion.

Indigenous communities in Victoria continue to face intolerable inequities in health, education, employment, the provision of public services and justice. We must focus on grassroots and state-wide solutions that result in local, regional and systemic reconciliation. We must eradicate individual and institutional racism. Only with these measures we can start to address these intolerable inequities and work to true reconciliation and self determination.

I have always been a strong advocate for indigenous rights and self determination and will continue to push for reconciliation and equality for our indigenous community.

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