National Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation Week, National

May 27-June 3
Australia sets aside the week between May 27 and June 3 to honor the culture and history of its Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and to promote reconciliation and forgiveness for the treatment that these indigenous peoples have suffered at the hands of white Australians. Since it was first held in 1996, National Reconciliation Week has featured various activities designed to promote understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, such as the People's Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbor Bridge in 2000.
The starting and ending dates of the commemoration are important anniversaries: On May 27, 1967, 90 percent of Australians voted to eliminate parts of their country's constitution that were discriminatory against indigenous Australians, and on June 3, 1992, the High Court of Australia ruled on the Eddie Mabo case, acknowledging the rights of indigenous Australians by rejecting the idea that Australia had been uninhabited until the first British settlers arrived.
Since 1998, this week-long celebration has encompassed National Sorry Day on May 28. An inquiry into the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children from their families led to a recommendation that a formal day of apology be declared, offering the community an opportunity to get involved in activities acknowledging the impact of the policy of forcible removal on these people. Australians are encouraged to sign local "Sorry Books" or to register their apologies electronically.
Australia's Culture and Recreation Portal
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian Government
P.O. Box 787
Canberra, ACT 2601 Australia
61-2-6271-1000; fax: 61-2-6271-1901
Reconciliation Australia
Old Parliament House
King George Terr.
Parkes, ACT 2600 Australia
61-2-6273-9200; fax: 61-2-6273-9201
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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