Reconciliation Vic Newsletter Sep 2019

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this eNews may include images of persons who are deceased.
September 2019The year is flying by – can you believe it’s already September?

The highlights of August for us were our annual On Country Regional Tour and Forum, and Diana’s trip up north to attend the Garma festival

Our annual regional tours and forums give us the chance to meet, catch up with and learn from others working at a grassroots level across Victoria to promote reconciliation. They also give us an invaluable opportunity to get to know a different part of Victoria from the perspective of a Traditional Owner. 

This year, we had the absolute privilege of being shown some of the significant cultural sites of Wadawurrung country by Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles. The oral history she shared as well as her own personal insights and experiences with ongoing efforts to increase recognition of local sites were eye-opening and humbling. She brought the local history alive for us all and showed how it was still very much relevant today by sharing her thoughts on the current Treaty process. 

The event sold out yet again, a great sign that there is a real desire and hunger to learn more about our Aboriginal past. Special thanks to Corrina and also to the Geelong One Fire reconciliation group – not only did they help plan the weekend, they also put on a fantastic barbecue dinner at the end of a long day.

The conversations continued at the forum the following morning, and we look forward to more discussion at the AGM in October.Our CEO Diana David was thrilled to attend the annual Garma festival in North East Arnhem Land as part of a women’s leadership group led by Reconciliation Australia. This gave Diana an opportunity to connect with many partners in reconciliation and hear the latest with regards to the national movement towards Voice, Treaty, Truth. Read more on Diana’s experience further below.

Have a great month!
The Reconciliation Victoria TeamNEWSLocal Treaty ConversationsReconciliation Victoria continued to support Local Treaty Conversations in August, with local events held in Port Phillip, Knox and Hume regions. Whittlesea also hosted their own Treaty Community Conversation on Thursday 29th August. 

The event in St Kilda, organised by the Port Phillip Citizens for Reconciliation and Reconciliation Stonnington and supported by the City of Port Phillip was incredibly well-attended and streamed on 3KND. Aunty Janet Galpin welcomed participants to Boon Wurrung Country, the audience then heard from our CEO Diana David and writer and activist Richard Frankland, followed by a Q&A session on Treaty.

At Knox City Council’s event held in Wantirna, Uncle Vincent Peters acknowledged Country and opened the event followed by a panel discussion. Panelists Uncle Trevor Gallagher, Andrew PetersAllara PearceMadison Connors and Michelle Isles held the conversation with local residents who braved a freezing cold night to participate.

Reconciliation Victoria Co-Chair Michelle Isles said: “This is our opportunity as non-Aboriginal Victorians to listen to and learn about the aspirations of First Peoples. It’s terrific to see local government leading the way in supporting these momentous conversations.”
At Hume City Council in Broadmeadows, Uncle Colin Hunter kicked off the evening with a Welcome to Wurundjeri Country. Charles Pakana from 3KND then moderated a discussion with panellists Tracey Evans, a Gundjitmara/Bundjalung woman and local candidate for the First People’s Assembly, Reconciliation Victoria board member Aislinn Martin, and the CEO of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations Marcus Stewart.

Whittlesea Reconciliation Group also hosted a Treaty Community Conversation on Thursday 29th August:

At the City of Whittlesea in South Morang, Aunty Di Kerr provided a Welcome to Wurundjeri Country before Charles Pakana from 3KND facilitated a Treaty Community Conversation. The audience heard from Lisa Thorpe from Bubup Wilam for Early Learning – Aboriginal and Family Centre and The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher as well as the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group.

Well done to all those Councils and Local Reconciliation Groups who hosted Local Treaty Conversations to engage the broader community in Treaty for Victoria.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for updates on future conversations in your area!Maggolee workshop in Geelong supports local governments to work towards reconciliation
Reconciliation Victoria held another Maggolee workshop in August, this time hosted by Geelong City Council.

The aim of the workshop was to engage and support local councils and organisations in how to make the most of the resources available on the Maggolee website, which are designed to help them build closer relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and progress reconciliation.
We started with a Welcome to Waddawurrung Country from Stephanie Skinner and then got straight into it by discussing the purpose and value of Maggolee. We learned more about each organisation’s reconciliation journey and how Maggolee supports reconciliation strategies and builds staff cultural capacity. Reconciliation Victoria also discussed strategies to support greater inclusion and opportunities for Aboriginal people in local government.

The workshop also focused on the importance of bringing together local government representatives to discuss and explore the Maggolee web resource, providing valuable information on where councils can share their good practice and where council staff can access valuable resources to support their Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and Aboriginal community commitments.

There was a fantastic turnout of about 40 people at the workshop. Special thanks to our own Nicole Findlay for doing a great job facilitating the session. We look forward to holding more workshops hosted by other councils in the near future, so we can continue to learn from each other on this reconciliation journey.

Visit the Maggolee website for more information and to organise to host a workshop at your council.The Garma Festival 2019A few words from our CEO Diana David on the Garma festival.
This year I was lucky enough to attend the Garma festival, organised by the Yothu Yindi Foundation.

This year the theme was Garma’lili Manapanmirri Dhukarryarrany’dhun Gudarr’wu (Pathways to our Future) and Reconciliation Australia brought together a delegation of women from all walks of life, all strong ambassadors for Reconciliation, to share the experience together. 
The annual gathering is held in an absolutely beautiful part of the world, a little place called ‘Gulkula’ located 30 minutes from the township of Nhulunbuy. Over four days we participated in Reconciliation Australia’s Garma Women’s Program hosted by Yolngu Elder and Reconciliation Australia board member Djapirri Mununggirritj
It was a truly unique opportunity for me to immerse myself in Yolngu culture and language – it was an amazing experience and something I’ll never forget. I shared such a special time with all these deadly tiddas (sisters), a bunch of inspiring women advancing Reconciliation. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow the partnership we built and working together in the name of Reconciliation.
“Garma has the remarkable ability to transcend colour, creed and race, many of our supporters recognise how remarkable this unique ingredient is to shape our nation’s future.” 
– Yothu Yindi Foundation.No Trees, No Treaty:
Protesters continue to amass at
Djab Warrung siteAt least two hundred supporters from across Victoria journey to a site in the state’s western districts to join a demonstration to save sacred Djab Wurrung trees, but the protest itself has now been threatened with eviction.

At the sacred Djab Wurrung site just outside of Ararat in Victoria’s mid-west stands a culturally significant birthing tree said to be over 800-years-old.Over its lifetime, the tree has overseen the arrival of 10,000 Djab Wurrung babies and been sustained by the blood of hundred of generations of Djab Wurrung women.Yet, the land surrounding the tree is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass along the Western Highway, potentially as soon as midnight Thursday, after an application from Djab Wurrung lawyer Michael Kennedy to protract an eviction notice was denied by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV). Read the full article from NITV.Appeal to save Djab Wurrung trees due to overlooked evidence.
Key evidence uncovering the true scope of destruction to Aboriginal culture wrought by the Western Highway duplication near Ararat was overlooked in a federal government decision to approve the controversial project, Traditional Owners have argued.
Read the full report from The Age.

What kind of state values a freeway’s heritage above the heritage of our oldest living culture?
The Victorian government has announced it is seeking heritage listing for parts of the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne. We heard this news on Wednesday as we sat under a grandfather tree in solidarity with Djab Wurrung people whose cultural heritage is being threatened by the same government.
Read the full report from The Conversation.

To find out how you can get involved, go to the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy Facebook page or website.Candidate nominations for the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria have now closed and the Treaty Advancement Commission continues to urge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria, as well as Victorian Traditional Owners living interstate, to enrol to vote in the election between September 16 and October 20More information and to register.Recruitment is underway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Victoria to work as Polling Officers. Roles are available across Victoria during the in-person voting period of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria elections, between Monday, September 30 and Sunday, October 13.

More information, contact Linda Manning on 9419 7216 or free call 1800 224 420. Constitutional reform and a voice to parliamentThe conversation about the planned referendum on constitutional reform continues as the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt ruled out the inclusion of a ‘voice to parliament’.

He received strong criticism from various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.

Read the article in The Guardian. Labor’s Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney said the government must “urgently” move forward on the design of the new body.

Labor says an Indigenous ‘voice’ to Parliament should have elected representatives and an equal number of men and women.

Read the article in The Sydney Morning Herald.OPINION – Lessons from Vincent Lingiari: a Voice is worth fighting for.

Delivering the 19th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, Ken Wyatt made explicit, in the strongest terms since becoming Minister for Indigenous Australians, that the Morrison government has decided to dismiss the call for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution.

Read the article in The Sydney Morning Herald.‘Long overdue’: public drunkenness to be decriminalised in Victoria’Public drunkenness will no longer be a crime in Victoria in a landmark law reform that seeks to redefine alcohol abuse as a health issue.Victoria and Queensland are the only states that still have a specific offence of public drunkenness, a charge that a royal commission found disproportionately affected Aboriginal people.The announcement to decriminalise public drunkenness comes as the Coroner considers the death of 55-year-old Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in an inquest that started on Monday 26 August 2019.’The change comes after continued advocacy by Tanya Day’s family, as well as other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families over many years. The inquest into Tanya Day’s death is underway now, with new developments and evidence released daily.

Read full article from The Age
Read the Justice for Tanya Day – Remember Her Name Facebook page to follow the family’s campaign to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody
Read about the inquest into the death of Aunty Tanya Day at IndigenousXImage Credit: Charandev SinghGraham ‘Polly’ Farmer dies aged 84
AFL legend Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer was remembered as a giant of the AFL world and his community. 

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan paid tribute to one of the game’s greatest players:“Beyond football, as a proud Noongar man, he was a leader for the Aboriginal community and his standing in the game and in society enabled his people to believe that they too could reach the peaks and achieve their best potential,” he said.

“He laid the path for so many great footballers from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to come into the elite levels of the game and showcase their skills.”

Read the article in The Age.
Ningali Lawford-Wolf, star of The Secret River, dies aged 52 on tourOn the same day as Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer died, news broke of the death of Aboriginal actor Ningali Lawford-Wolf, who died in Scotland while on tour with the Sydney Theatre Company.

A Wangkatjungka woman from the Kimberley, she was perhaps best known for her work in Rabbit-Proof Fence, Bran Nue Dae, and Mystery Road.

In a statement, her family and STC said:
“Ningali was an incredibly talented performer as well as a wonderfully caring and thoughtful person. We’ve lost one of Australian theatre’s greatest treasures.”

Read the article in The Guardian.Racism study finds one in three school students are victims of discrimination
The first-of-its-kind study finds 40% of students in years five to nine from non-Anglo or European backgrounds reported experiencing racial discrimination. Close to 20% of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background reported experiences of racial discrimination from their teachers. One in three students from non-Anglo or European backgrounds reported experiences of racial discrimination in wider society.

Read the article here from The Guardian.Ernie Dingo camping on country to improve Indigenous men’s health
TV personality Ernie Dingo is hoping to close the gap in remote men’s health by empowering them to improve their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

The Yamatji man from Western Australia is the chairman of Indigenous media organisation BushTV, which is running a program called Camping On Country.

“We’re going back on country with the men to strengthen their mentality towards their culture, their law, their language, but more so for medical benefits,” Dingo told the ABC.

Read more:

Ernie Dingo also shared his program at NACCHO’s 2019 Ochre Day (Aboriginal Men’s Health Conference) in Melbourne on 29-30 August. NACCHO’s Ochre Day sees 150 Aboriginal men from across Australia coming together in Melbourne to talk men’s health. Reconciliation Victoria’s CEO Diana David was also a guest speaker at this event.
As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on donations and partnerships to help create change and work towards a Victorian identify that reflects our true history, promotes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, equity and self-determination.Donations are used to fund our ongoing work and projects that support meaningful reconciliation. We also welcome corporate sponsorships and partnerships. Please contact us to discuss opportunities, or donate by visiting our webpage.Host a Morning Tea for Culture to support Aboriginal children in care heal and connect to culture. VACCA invites all groups, workplaces, churches, schools to host a morning tea and help Aboriginal children in care. Find out how you can help raise funds to support VACCA’s important work.The funds you raise will make a difference to Aboriginal children in care and in their programs – every dollar counts.We encourage you to learn more about VACCA by visiting their website.EVENTSAnnual General Meeting & Reconciliation Forum
Saturday 26 OctoberOur Annual General Meeting will be held at the Edinburgh Gardens Community Room in Fitzroy North. We hope to see as many of our members there as possible, and everyone (including non-members) is welcome. We’ll be announcing the theme soon – keep an eye on our Facebook page and next month’s eNews for further updates!City of Darebin hosts inaugural First Nations celebration Ngulu NganjinSunday 1st September

This Sunday the City of Darebin will host Ngulu Nganjin (‘Everyone’s Voice’), a new annual festival that recognises and celebrates First Nations people and the wider Darebin community.

The program of events was co-designed by the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the day will be hosted by Uncle Jack Charles.

Starting at midday, there will be a Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Welcome Ceremony with Uncle Bill Nicholson & Djirri Djirri Dance Group; nationally renowned Aboriginal singer/songwriter Isaiah Firebrace performing with local primary school students; Kee’ahnBIA – Brothersinarms Dance Crew; plus food stalls and face painting.

Later in the afternoon, join two high profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, actor & activist Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and businesswoman & founder of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia Dr Donna Odegaard AM, for a public forum to be broadcast live on 3KND. ‘Because Of Her We Can’ will celebrate the enormous contributions of these two leaders. 

More information: festival puts First Nations writers front and centreThursday 5 – Sunday 8 September

The First Nations Literary Festival Blak & Bright returns to Melbourne featuring a stellar line-up of mostly free events.

With nearly 80 First Nations artists front and centre, this unique festival celebrates the diverse expressions of First Nations writers, covering all genres, from songs to essays, oral stories to epic novels, and from plays to poetry.

Below are just two of the events!

Check out the full program here.Keynote: Smoke Whispers Sorrow – Tony Birch
The master of precise and poetic storytelling shares a recent and very personal story: ‘As a means of connecting to Country while dealing with personal grief, I decided that the only way to engage with both was first to walk, second to think, and third to write about the experience before losing sense of what I was able to learn about myself and my loss’.

Thursday 5 September
7.30 – 8.30pm, The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space
176 Little Lonsdale Street, MelbourneYung, Blak & Bold
The meek might inherit the world, but the bold are going to ensure there is an equitable world to inherit. Hear them talk about the things that matter now. With Tarneen OnusDavey Thompson and Carissa Lee. Moderator Nayuka Gorrie.

Saturday 6 September
1.15 – 2.15pm, RMIT Storey Hall, Building 16,
336 – 348 Swanston Street, Melbourne
A multimedia soundscape exhibition that celebrates UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages and the 25th Anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL). Co-curated with VACLngulu wurneet, galada-al wurrung-u, parniwaru tyalingi, waran woorroong-ee, barringgi dyaling – River of Language encourages visitors to be immersed in Aboriginal Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing, and learn through listening and observation.

The VACL curatorial working group of Vicki Couzens and Brendan Kennedy asks visitors to take the time to “learn to see the world through our eyes, through our words, stories and images”.

River of Language continues until Sunday, 13 October
Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum.  InformationWe respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters of Victoria.Follow on FacebookFollow on TwitterEmail usSign up to receive this news monthlyPlease share this eNews with your networks. If you have any events or news items you’d like us to include please email the office
 Make a Donation to Reconciliation Victoria and help create change in VictoriaPoorneit – Wurundjeri 
season of tadpoles (true spring) 

Key Dates

26 October: Reconciliation Victoria AGM & ForumExhibitionsdhumba-njan dhumba-njarr(speak-i speak-you)

Language comes out of the land. When Bunjil created land and life he also created language. Immerse yourself in a culture defined by a living language. Hear the songs, feel the rhythms and see the shapes and colours of a timeless people.

You’re invited to become involved in an ancient and living culture in visual splendour and interactive engagement.

This exhibition has been created with guest curator, Aunty Brooke Wandin, to mark UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Exhibition continues until Sunday, 1 September.
Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, 35 Castella Street, Lilydale. 

Photo: The Three Wandins 
Photographer: Kate BakerEducationIndigenous Knowledge Institute
The University of Melbourne has announced that it will invest at least $6 million to launch an Indigenous Knowledge Institute for world-leading Aboriginal knowledge, research and education.

More information here.Eureka prizes for Indigenous education programs and blue carbon research in Australia’s ‘Science Oscars’
Indigenous education, citizen frog surveys, research into wetland carbon storage and cancer-killing immune cells are among the winners.

Trophies and $170,000 in prize money have been awarded to 17 winners for research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science at the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes held at Sydney’s Town Hall on Wednesday 18 August.

For the first time the awards have included a prize for “STEM Inclusion”, which was won by the National Indigenous Science Education Program — a unique collaboration of scientists and Aboriginal elders.

Pictured above is Isaachar Fraser, a student leader in the National Indigenous Science Education Program.

Read the article from The Age.Stolen Generations Schools Kit now available
The Healing Foundation has launched its Stolen Generations Resource Kit for Teachers and Students. The free resource was developed to help school communities start a conversation about the Stolen Generations and introduce students up to year nine to the lived experiences of Stolen Generation survivors.

Cultural consultation with survivors was key to the project, which was undertaken with guidance from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous teachers, parents, early childhood specialists and curriculum writers.

Download the kit here.Resource to help celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages
To mark the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Reconciliation Australia has put together a resource explaining the history and importance of revitalising First Nations languages, and how to respectfully explore reconciliation opportunities around language. 

More information.New report shows impact of living with Stolen Generations survivors on children
A new report from The Healing Foundation, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), examines the impact of removal and intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living with Stolen Generations survivors. 

It found children living in these households are more likely to experience a range of adverse health and welfare outcomes than other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

More information.Possum Skin Pedagogy – A Guide for Early Childhood PractitionersThe recently launched ‘Possum Skin Pedagogy – A Guide for Early Childhood Practitioners’, authored by Dr Sue Atkinson-Lopez, is now available free through the Yarn Strong Sista website.Possum Skin Pedagogy invites Early Childhood Practitioners to become ‘the learner’ as they work respectfully alongside and with Aboriginal community. 
Find out moreOur kids have grown up in a fog about the history of the land
Bruce Pascoe’s 2014 book Dark Emu rewrote Australian history and continues to win awards, inspire projects and change the conversation.

A new kids’ version is now available. Young Dark Emu – A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.
The Guardian review.
Buy from Magabala Books
 “Teach your children to rebel. Teach your children to doubt.” 
At school, Bruce Pascoe was taught Aboriginal people were backward wanderers. Today, the Dark Emu author argues for curiosity and doubt.

The Guardian, 1 June 2019
Read the article here.Making your workplace or classroom culturally inclusive
With over 50,000 people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin in Victoria, it’s now more important than ever to be informed on how to make your workplace, classroom or association culturally inclusive.

Koorie culture has historically been disregarded or overlooked in these environments but there are a handful of things that can be done to ensure a more inclusive and positive future.

Download here.The Education Calendar is the best resource to incorporate Indigenous learning into your school and classroom. Download hereBest Practice in Koorie-Inclusive Early Childhood EducationVAEAI’s Early Years Unit has produced two videos on best practice in Koorie-inclusive early childhood education. The videos feature four of Victoria’s Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACS).They are intended to be watched and used by early childhood educators and other staff members who work at early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. 

The videos have been organised into three modules. Information herePodcasts
TV • Film The highly anticipated film The Australian Dream, written by journalist Stan Grant and featuring Adam Goodes, is now showing in cinemas.
This important film uses Adam’s inspirational life story as the prism through which to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging.
Watch the trailer here.The Indigenous Voice
A special look at the case for Constitutional Recognition and an Indigenous voice to parliament. Tony Jones is joined by Sally ScalesLinda BurneyJulian LeeserJacinta Price and Patricia TurnerWatch on ABC iView.Actor Jack Charles talks about his incredible life with Richard Fidler on the ABC’s Conversations. Listen here.Blue Water Empire
The ABC screened a three-part dramatised-documentary series on Torres Strait Islander history called Blue Water Empire. It’s an introduction to the Torres Straits and an exploration of the concepts that shaped their culture and customs before white settlement, told though key stories by the men and women of the region.

You can catch up on iview. LearningLittle Yarns for Kids
Australia is full of diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations. From Gamilaroi to Yawuru, Palawa to Wadjigany, each mob has its own language, stories and culture.

Journey with us each week to learn language on country and have a little yarn. Listen here.eNews layout by Julie CattlinCopyright © 2019 Reconciliation Victoria, All rights reserved.

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