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Narragunnawali News contains information about reconciliation in Australia, ideas for driving reconciliation in schools and early learning services, and highlights of great things happening in schools and early learning services across the country.

11 May 2021

NRW 2021 – More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Report. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and education institutions need to be leading the way, building relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey:

  • 27 May 1967 – On this day, Australia’s most successful referendum saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise them in the Census.
  • 3 June 1992 – On this day, the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision, the culmination of Eddie Koiki Mabo’s challenge to the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one) and leading to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands. This decision paved the way for Native Title.

About the 2021 NRW artwork and poster

This year’s NRW poster artwork, ACTION, was designed by Warumungu/Wombaya descendant, Jessica Johnson, creator of Nungala Creative.

In Jess’ words:

The artwork reflects our connection and mutual obligation to one another, community and Country. Through commonality and difference, we have the ability to come together and achieve real change.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples have been listening to the heartbeat of the Land and Sea for generations. With their rainbow shaped souls the spirits ask for us to join and make reconciliation more than a word, to take action. We need to love one another and every aspect of the existing environment and community – We all have a role to play.

Artwork 'Action' - Artist Jessica Johnson

Elements of the artwork include:

  • Spirit souls = thinking/awareness

  • The undulating landscape is shown through the contours at the base of the artwork.

  • Moons/planet = Represent cycle and time.

  • Stars = Navigation and knowing the way.

  • Boomerang = Coming full circle. 20 boomerangs represent the 20 years of Reconciliation Australia.

  • Reflection = Reflecting on our actions.

  • Central river = The crying river represents the degradation and needed renewal. The land is suffering from inaction.

Download the Action' Artwork Guide and colouring activity to learn more about the elements of the artwork. 

Take Action

  • Visit nrw.reconciliation.org.au/ to access a range of regularly updated NRW 2021 resources. Download a copy of the NRW 2021 poster to proudly display in your classroom, school or early learning service. Alternatively, you can display the poster in virtual spaces as a desktop or video conference background; email signature; school or personal Facebook header or website banner; or LinkedIn cover. Be creative and don’t forget to share your ideas with your networks and with the Narragunnawali team!

  • Register for the ‘NRW 2021: ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’ Narragunnawali webinar, which will be made available on-demand until the end of NRW 2020.

  • Engage with the Early Learning , Primary and Secondary Let’s Talk about the Theme for NRW, 2021 curriculum resources, as well as the wider resources, information and ideas shared under the Celebrate National Reconciliation Week RAP Action on the Narragunnawali platform.

  • View the NRW Events calender and attend an inperson or virtual event to build awareness, knowledge and action. 

  • Register your NRW event with Reconciliaiton Australia.

  • Engage with ‘The Narragunnawali RAP Framework’ professional learning resource to learn how school and early learning services can take action in a holistic, whole-scale way. Reflect and discuss how your school or early learning service takes action towards reconciliation, and what your next most meaningful steps might be. 

  • Compare the 2021 poster to previous NRW posters — how do these posters, and their respective written language and imagery, connect and build on each other from year to year? How do they help capture key messages and milestones at different points in Australia’s reconciliation journey and help to inspire our nation’s next most meaningful steps towards reconciliation?

  • Reflect on how the 2021 NRW theme and poster connects with the themes and posters of other days and weeks of national significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to reconciliation in Australia – such as the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme, Heal Country.

Inquiry Questions

  • What do you think “more than a word” might refer to in the NRW 2021 theme, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action? What are some ways to bring words to life in our mind, heart and actions?
  • What does ‘action’ mean to you? What can stop you from taking action (inaction)? Why is it important to think before we act? What could you— together with others—do to turn learning about reconciliation into meaningful action? 
  • What does ‘brave’ mean to you? How might ‘being brave’ help you take action towards reconciliation?
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