Weather no match for Geraldton's drive for reconciliation to celebrate First Nations relationships

Anna CoxGeraldton Guardian
Lara Dalton MLA, Jackie Jarvis MLC and Sanda Carr MLC.
Camera IconLara Dalton MLA, Jackie Jarvis MLC and Sanda Carr MLC. Credit: Anna Cox

National Reconciliation Week is a time for Australians to learn our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore the ways in which we can reconcile as a nation.

Two significant milestones are remembered in the reconciliation journey — the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

The Department of Justice and Desert Blue Connect facilitated the Wanarayimanha group walk to celebrate National Reconciliation Week for 2023.

The group included local schools, businesses, politicians and community leaders coming together with a shared purpose and to walk in solidarity.

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Community initiatives co-ordinator at Desert Blue Connect, Kieran Rigter said: “As part of the justice and community network committee, we were thrilled to see such a great turnout for this event, especially from our local schools.”

“Be a voice for generations” is the theme for 2023’s Reconciliation Week — it aims to encourage people to champion reconciliation in tangible ways through their everyday lives where we live, work and socialise.”

Event organiser Samantha Harring was amazed at the turnout despite the 29mm of rain Geraldton was receiving, three times the monthly average of 10.59mm.

Member for Geraldton Lara Dalton and Minister for Agriculture, Jackie Jarvis MLC were among the hundreds that congregated at Edith Cowan Square for the walk.

Rhodda Copewell welcomed the crowd to country and emphasised the importance of showing unity during such celebrations and the positive impact it can have.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said: “Reconciliation is about building a better nation; a more united Australia that respects and takes pride in 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, stories and achievements; an Australia that believes in the right of First Nations peoples to make decisions about our lives and our communities; and an Australia that stands opposed to racism, inequity and injustice.”

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation co-chair Peter Windie echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a vitally important step to move Australia forward, better enabling us to shape our future while giving First Nations peoples the means to speak on decisions that impact our lives,” he said.

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