A reconciliation preparation guide for non-Aboriginal Australians


National Reconciliation week ran from the 27th May to the 3rd June – #InThisTogether2020, #NRW2020!

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.

Quite a while back, Counsellor Matt approached me and told me of his work in developing a reconciliation preparation guide for non-Aboriginal Australians. It built upon his own psychological journey of reconciling his own white Australian identity with that of his work with Aboriginal people, as well as clinical psychological models that help people confront difficult and unworkable beliefs they hold.

I read his work and it affected me. It was challenging. It required me to look inside and sit with (and challenge) uncomfortable beliefs I held about the relationship between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Australians and how my inaction in that space was part of the problem.

Honestly, I think this a must-read for any non-Aboriginal Australians. particularly those who consider Australia their home. That ‘home’ contains a racial inequality that we can’t ignore. The gap in life expectancy and health (and many more indicators) between non-Aboriginal Australians and Aboriginal Australians is unacceptable and is a result of past and current abuses. If we are to fix that gap and heal the relationship between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Australians, it requires work at all levels of the community. Matt’s articles are about the work individuals might need to do to to get to a point where they can join the reconciliation process.

There are 5 articles in the series, located over on the Oasis Blog.

Part 1.  Why hasn’t ‘The Gap’ between Aboriginal and white Australia been closed?

Part 2.  Our Inheritance – Where did white privilege come from?

Part 3.  The white bubble… and bursting it

Part 4.  All the ways to escape

Part 5.  Reflecting on ourselves and finding a seat

I implore you to read Matt’s work.

It might make you uncomfortable. In fact, it probably will. But that discomfort is part of the inner reconciliation process. And you are in good hands with Matt as you do that work.

I certainly experienced it, and continue to do so, but I am so glad to have met Matt and get to talk to him regularly about this work.

He is happy to receive feedback on the articles – matt.pedler@flinders.edu.au

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