Uniting for National Reconciliation Week
Building a better future relies on change. Change relies on understanding and mutual respect. But neither of these things are possible to achieve alone, it needs to be achieved together and that is what National Reconciliation Week is all about.
National Reconciliation Week signifies a very important time in Australia’s history, commemorating two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum to amend the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth to make laws for Aboriginal people and include them in the census and the High Court Mabo decision which recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to the land.
The week has since become an opportunity for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to bring together this rich cultural tapestry to create a better tomorrow.
“Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mick Scarcella, Aboriginal Health Management Advisor, said.
“Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in the future unless we heal historical wounds. We can’t have healing until we have truth telling so whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, it’s important that we walk together on this journey with courage.”
Reflective of the 2020 National Reconciliation Week theme, ‘in this together’ SCHN is committed to a network that fosters and supports shared growth and understanding and strongly advocates for collaboration across all cultures. This is and always will be a priority to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, patients and their families are safe, welcomed and comfortable when using the Network’s services.
With a dedicated Aboriginal Health Unit, led by Mick Scarcella and Sarina Solar, and renewed strategic focus on building our Aboriginal workforce, the Network is in a better position than ever before to support Aboriginal patients, families and communities and to bring together all Aboriginal staff across SCHN.
One of the people helping to make this happen is Tanya Quinn, Aboriginal Health Worker in Palliative Care and Chronic and Complex Needs. This position is the first paediatric role of its kind in NSW and enables Tanya to culturally support and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families who live with palliative or chronic, complex conditions.
“I believe we have come a long way in educating people about Aboriginal culture but this is still ongoing. I’m proud of the role I get to play in helping spread that awareness and understanding and the increased support this gives our patients and families,” Tanya said.
As we acknowledge the events of the past and celebrate the progress made in uniting as a country, it is important to also remember the role we each play in ensuring this progress continues moving forward.
“Reconciliation Week is important not just this week, but all year round,” Tanya said.
“I find a lot of people still pre-judge but if we can all try and take the time to get to know someone and their culture, then we will understand each other so much more, and with better understanding will come better outcomes for our children.”