7 ways to mark National Reconciliation Week 2017 in your workplace

This year’s National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs from 27 May – 3 June, and marks two significant anniversaries.  The week begins on the 50 year anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, and the week ends with the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision overturning Terra Nullius.

This year’s NRW theme is ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’.  With 25 years since Mabo, and 50 years since the Referendum that removed two discriminatory references from the Australian Constitution, it's time for all Australians and Australian employers to take the next steps.

So to help you mark this special week in a significant year, I’ve put together just a handful of ideas for events in your workplace.  If you’ve got other ideas, please add them to the comments at the bottom of the page.

Here’s a quick list of ideas:

  1. Have a morning tea or lunch to celebrate #NRW2017.  Get catering from a local Indigenous catering business:  I often use Bara Barang on the Central Coast.  The Newcastle based caterer I use isn’t available right now, so I can’t make a recommendation.  But I’m sure if you search on google or Supply Nation you will find someone.  It’s a great opportunity to support Aboriginal community organisations and businesses.  If you can recommend any local Aboriginal catering businesses - add their details in the comments section below.
  2. Host a lunchtime viewing of ’Cleverman’ - a sci fi/drama incorporating Dreaming stories with a future dystopian Australia.  If that’s not your idea of fun, try something else from the NRW recommended viewing.  My other favourites include ‘Babakiueria’ a classic satire on colonisation (bound to spark conversation), and ‘The Sapphires’ if you’re looking for a feel-good option.
  3. Experience local culture, people, places and history by organising a cultural tour for your staff or senior management.  Bara Barang hosts tours of the bush or the beaches of the Central Coast.  You can participate in a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, as well as see local sites of cultural and historical importance.  In the Hunter you can do a quad bike or hummer tour of the Sand Dunes with Worimi Land Council.
  4. Learn how you can contribute to closing the Aboriginal employment gap by attending one of my workshops.  Register for my Aboriginal Cultural Awareness for Workplaces, or the Special 2-hour Workshop on Aboriginal Employment on 30 May at Tuggerah.
  5. Make a donation to a local Aboriginal community organisation.
  6. Hold a lunchtime discussion on the Recognise campaign for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal peoples in Australia’s Constitution or other relevant topic.  Learn what real change would look like and what you can do to help.
  7. Commit to developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or initiating an Aboriginal Employment Plan in 2017.

For more ideas, check out the National Reconciliation Week resources including recommended viewing and reading.  One of the recommended readings is The Little Red Yellow Black Book (and if you come along to my Aboriginal cultural awareness on 30 May you get your own copy for free).

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #NRW2017 on social media postings, and follow along with others.

What's your next step?  What will you do in your workplace to mark National Reconciliation Week?  I’d love to know what you’ve got planned.  Whatever you have planned, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.