News May/June 2014

National Reconciliation Week May 27th – 3rd June

Embrace the difference

It has been suggested that when Captain Arthur Phillip and his British fleet settled at Port Jackson on 26th of January 1788, relationships between the Indigenous people and the British were amicable. It was not long, however, before cultural misunderstandings began to arise. Since the Aborigine people had not undertaken conventional British practices such as establishing fences or farming the land, white settlers perceived their culture to be primitive and inferior to their own.

British patriotism further fuelled this sense of inferiority with children’s books emphasising the heroic attributes of British men who had endured the harsh elements of the Australian landscape. These books usually portrayed the villains as black natives. It is not difficult to understand that through these writings children were made to think that Indigenous people were inferior, even dangerous.

This attitude and understanding cultivated over many decades was set to change when 1967 a referendum was passed which removed clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aborigine and Torres Strait Islander people. Over 90 % of Australians voted for this change, yet today we still witness inequality. Each race has its separate core values that are fundamentally different. Both values should be recognised and embraced as different.

The ultimate goal of reconciliation is to build strong and trusting relationships between the Indigenous people and other Australians, as a foundation for success and to enhance our national wellbeing.

Many of you know that we have been working on a theatre production with dance that bridges the gap in cultural diversity. Blending together Western style with that of the Indigenous people of Australia. A reconciliation of sorts, a recognition certainly and a celebration of the differences and deep richness that epitomise our individual cultural heritage.

Soon we will bring this show to stage, stay tuned as we keep you informed of our progress. On a point of difference, we leave you with this insightful quote.

‘As much as I live I shall not imitate them or hate myself for being different to them.’ (Orhan Pamuk, Turkish Novelist and Nobel Prize Winner)


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