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National Reconciliation Week 2022 banner with the slogan 'Be brave. Make change'.

May 30, 2022

National Reconciliation Week: Celebrating First Nations people leading change

National Reconciliation Week is an important opportunity for us to reflect on the progress that has been made towards reconciliation in Australia, while also recognising the work that still remains and the role we can play in it. 

This year, the theme for National Reconciliation Week is ‘Be Brave. Make Change’. To commemorate this week, we’re highlighting some examples which feature First Nations people who have done just that.  

Disclaimer: Some resources may contain outdated terminology or images/voices of people who have now passed away. Caution is advised. 

The first scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples 

Written by Corey Tutt, this illustrated book explores scientific discoveries and innovation made by First Nations people and passed down through Indigenous knowledge.   

The book is also illustrated by Blak Douglas, who recently won the Archibald Prize for their portrait of Lismore artist, Karla Dickens. 

Australian biographies: Charles Perkins 

Charles Perkins was the first Indigenous Australian to receive a university degree, and as an activist he led the famous Freedom rides, one of Australia’s most significant civil rights movements. This video biography from 2012 is just one resource the library has available to learn more about Perkins and his life. You might also like to read this biography by Peter Read or watch this documentary on the Freedom Rides 

Mabo: life of an Island Man  

Eddie Koiki Mabo’s name will always be synonymous with the Mabo decision – the historic High Court of Australia recognition that terra nullius should not have been applied to Australia. This documentary explores his life and lifelong fight for Indigenous land rights.  

Yajilarra = to dream: Aboriginal women leading change in remote Australia  

Yajilarra is a film about a group of Aboriginal women from Fitzroy Crossing in remote northern Western Australia. They are determined to save the town from the scourge of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and foetal alcohol syndrome.  

Lurujarri Dreaming 

This animated film documents the Song-cycle of the Goolarabooloo people, along the path of the Lurujarri Heritage Trail established in 1987 by Goolarabooloo Elder Paddy Roe. The film is a great tribute to Paddy’s vision for recording and preserving the community’s culture and for sharing it with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. 

Sister girl: Reflections on Tiddaism, Identity and Reconciliation 

Jackie Huggins is an Indigenous Australian author, activist and historian. Sister Girl is a collection of essays, speeches and interviews from over four decades of her career, offering an Aboriginal view of the history, values and struggles of Indigenous people. 

Breathing life into Boodia 

This film is a galvanising portrayal of large-scale environmental achievements being made by community groups, Aboriginal communities and rangers, conservation landholders, farmers and scientists. 

In My Blood It Runs  

An intimate and compassionate observational documentary from the perspective of a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy in Alice Springs, Australia, struggling to balance his traditional Arrernte/Garrwa upbringing with a state education. 

Barrba Wadbirra: Journey Together 

This documentary follows a provocative reconciliation project where seven Aboriginal artists collaborate with the Western Australian Police Force. 

Display of reconciliation week themed resources at our Geelong Waterfront Campus library.

Display of National Reconciliation Week themed resources at our Geelong Waterfront Campus library.

The library has a wide range of other resources that can help you learn more about the rich history of First Nations Australians and the journey of reconciliation. 

You can also check out National Reconciliation Week events near you

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