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May 27, 2021

Reconciliation Week resources from the library

The theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week is ‘more than a word.’ Reconciliation has many meanings to people, and there is a rich variety of responses by First Nations Australians to what reconciliation should look like. The library has dozens of resources including books, e-books and streaming videos that present these views. Here are some of the items in our collection you may wish to explore – this week and beyond.

Disclaimer: Some resources may contain outdated terminology or images/voices of people who have now passed away.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

Print books

Talking to my country by Stan Grant

An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.

Essential Aboriginal insights: a guide for anyone involved in closing gaps in Australia by Jolleen Hicks

Each Aboriginal community is different, and we must commit to learning about the cultural diversity and complexity of specific Aboriginal Communities. Aboriginal people are not one people or one culture, they are many separate cultures with special rights and interests. Learning their ways will enrich your life.

Waetnanda ngootoowan waka thiyama-ki (together we all share information) by Sherry Johnstone

12-volume kit: An Aboriginal early-years activity resource for teachers and parents. The kit contains picture books with activities, cultural connection and extension ideas.

Sand talk: how Indigenous thinking can save the world by Tyson Yunkaporta

This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrödinger’s cat. Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently?

The biggest estate on earth: how Aborigines made Australia by Bill Gammage

Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised.

Book covers for Forgotten War, Homeland Caling, Sand Talk and Talking to My Country


Welcome to Country: a travel guide to Indigenous Australia by Marcia Langton

A guide to genuine Indigenous cultural experiences in Australia.

Good morning, Mr Sarra: my life working for a stronger, smarter future for our children by Chris Sarra

This book is about one man’s fight to turn the tide of low expectations. When Chris Sarra arrived as the first Aboriginal principal of Cherbourg State School in 1998, it was a time of high hopes but low expectations in Indigenous education. Over the next six years, he transformed the school into a national success story, but not without controversy along the way.

Finding the heart of the nation: the journey of the Uluru Statement towards voice, treaty and truth by Thomas Mayor

Since the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart was formed in 2017, Thomas Mayor has travelled around the country to promote its vision of a better future for Indigenous Australians. He’s visited communities big and small, often with the Uluṟu Statement canvas rolled up in a tube under his arm. Through the story of his own journey and interviews with 20 key people, Thomas taps into a deep sense of our shared humanity.

Convincing ground: learning to fall in love with your country by Bruce Pascoe

A wide-ranging personal and powerful work which resonates with historical and contemporary Australian debates about identity, dispossession, memory and community.

Book covers for Welcome to Country, Convincing Ground, Finding the Heart of the Nation and Good Morning Mr Sarra

Indigenous knowledges: privileging our voices edited by Tarquam McKenna, Donna Moodie and Pat Onesta

How should new knowledge systems for the academy be reflective of 60,000-year-old Aboriginal histories? The 10 chapters by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous academics from the NIKERI Institute offer an answer to this question with generative and sometimes challenging narratives and addresses a unique higher education situation in Australia.

Homeland calling: words from a new generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices edited by Ellen Van Neerven

A collection of poems created from hip-hop song lyrics that channel culture and challenge stereotypes. Written by First Nations youth from communities all around Australia, the powerful words display a maturity beyond their years.

Forgotten war by Henry Reynolds

Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas, but there are no official commemorations of the battles fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists. Delving into why it is more controversial to talk about the frontier war now than it was 100 years ago, Forgotten War continues the story told in Henry Reynolds’ seminal book The Other Side of the Frontier, which argues that the settlement of Australia had a high level of violence and conflict that people chose to ignore.

Streaming videos and DVDs

Talking Language with Ernie Dingo

Around 250 Indigenous languages with 600 dialects are spoken in Australia. Today it is estimated that 30 of those languages are still strong and are spoken daily. But over a hundred are critically endangered. In this series, Ernie Dingo explores the revival, maintenance and creation of languages which are in a constant state of change.

Walking together; Aboriginal reconciliation: a new focus; Talkin’ business; Making things right: the Mabo decision

Patrick Dodson and members of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation speak about the Council’s aims; Aboriginal reconciliation: Paul Keating and Council members on the need for reconciliation and how the Council will work; Making things right: Patrick Dodson and others discuss implications of The Mabo Decision.

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