“Don’t keep history a mystery. Learn. Share. Grow.”
National Reconciliation Week took place earlier this month, coinciding with the 26th anniversary of the landmark Mabo decision, through which native title was first recognised in Australia by the High Court, and the unique connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples share with the land was acknowledged.
If you were educated in Australia, chances are you studied the Mabo decision at some point, but how much about it do you remember? In fact, how much can you comfortably say you know about the histories, cultures, perspectives and experiences of First Nations People?
According to Common Ground, this month’s Pure Community donation recipient, 85% of Australians believe it is important to know about the histories of our First Peoples, but only 42% believe they have a high-level knowledge of that history.
An aboriginal-led organisation working closely with First Nations People, Common Ground seeks to help Australians build a foundational level of knowledge about the diverse histories, perspectives, and experiences of the oldest living cultures on earth. They achieve this through storytelling and by providing online access to engaging and trusted educational content that allows all Australians to learn about, and connect with, our First Australians.
Common Ground’s work emphasises the importance of the role education plays in the building of genuine and respectful relationships with one’s local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. These relationships are key to promoting reconciliation and with governments legislating to create Aboriginal treaty frameworks, the type of education offered by Common Ground is as important now as it has ever been.
We also encourage you to check out ‘Deadly Questions’, a brilliant Victorian State Government educational initiative that promotes dialogue and provides the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal Victorians by asking anonymous questions. Here you will be able to ask or find the answers to questions you may have never asked for through embarrassment, fear of causing offense, or simply because you’ve never had the chance.
As we move closer to achieving self-determination and Treaty, we are grateful for the amazing resources available that allow us to expand our understanding of First Nations People, their histories and cultures, and the unique challenges they face upon this common ground we share.
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