Reconciliation bigger than ever

LOOKING FORWARD: First Nations Elder Ken Jones is pleasently surprised at the increase in Reconciliation Week events. Picture: FILE

Charlotte Varcoe

FIRST Nations Elder Uncle Ken Jones has congratulated the community in coming together during Reconciliation Week this week.

This year’s theme ‘Now More than Ever’ comes off the back of last year’s No Vote for the Voice to Parliament referendum.

Uncle Ken said there was an “unexpected surge” of interest and participation in reconciliation this year despite the initial concerns following last year’s results.

“I am now hoping those who voted against the Voice to Parliament last year might think twice about it,” Uncle Ken said.

“There are organisations creating more awareness and I was very pleased that a lot of them are realising the importance of having proper reconciliation nation wide and moving towards a better understanding of Aboriginal people.”

He said he was surprised to see so many people banding together after initially being apprehensive about how the No Vote may have impacted Reconciliation Week.

“There were a lot of people against the whole idea, including some of our own people, but I think the next generation understands this more genuinely and there needs to be better consideration with empathy and flexibility,” Uncle Ken said.

“There was a fear that interest and enthusiasm would diminish but as we approach Reconciliation Week it is clear the spirit of reconciliation is alive and well.”

Uncle Ken noted a busy schedule for Reconciliation Week which proved the movement was important to a range of people.

He said there were discussions being held at a range of different places such as schools, preschools, childcare and kindergartens as well as high schools and universities and other places such as businesses.

“This shows a diverse cross section of people which have placed a lot of importance and serious enquiries about learning more about better reconciliation,” Uncle Ken said.

“Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and while there may be obstacles along the way, it is heartening to see that people are committed to moving forward together.

“This Reconciliation Week let’s continue to build bridges, foster understanding and work towards a more inclusive and reconciled Australia.”