Two ELAA staff posing in front of a event poster

09 MayNow more than ever, it’s time to stand up: ELAA staff’s reflection on the ECA Reconciliation Symposium

Posted on 09 May 2024

By Georgie Delbridge and Leanne Rodriguez

If a movement is to have an impact, it must belong to those who join in – not those who lead it” – Simon Sinek

This was a quote shared with us at Early Childhood Australia’s Reconciliation Symposium held on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra, from Friday, 3 May to Saturday, 4 May.

Throughout the symposium, the themes of truth-telling, sharing lived experiences, reflection, Closing the Gap and hopes for the future resounded loudly and clearly. It touched us deeply and personally.

Hearing personal experiences of the Stolen Generation, understanding the impacts of the referendum, and knowing how the Gap in the developmental readiness of Aboriginal children in increasing, not closing, left us and many delegates in tears. And as we heard from Joanne Goodwin, a descendant of the Wonnarua peoples and the Co-Chair or Early Childhood Australia’s Reconciliation Advisory Group, we learned to sit with the uncomfortable.

We were also uplifted by the resilience, determination and survival of Aboriginal people and culture through participation in two cultural tours, before the symposium’s commencement. The tours provided us with an opportunity to connect and walk on Country with Uncle Tyrone from Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services. We also heard from Adam Duncan and his story “The Bunyip and the Stars”, during our visit to Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre at the National Museum of Australia (NMA).

The Reconciliation Week (May 27 to June 3) theme of “Now more than Ever” resonated deeply throughout the symposium, emphasising the pressing need for continuous dialogue, understanding, and action towards reconciliation in Australia. One particularly impactful session on day 2, led by Aunty Denise Proud and Dr Melinda Miller, focused on “A Decolonising Pedagogy.” It prompted us to reflect on past teaching practices and consider how we can actively drive change in the future.

We are so very grateful for the opportunity to attend the Symposium. and have returned from this meaningful event with renewed inspiration and a deeper commitment to fostering reconciliation and cultural awareness within our work at ELAA.

Now more than ever, it’s time to stand up and be counted!

How will you stand up and be counted as Reconciliation Week approaches?

Here are some useful resources to support you through this Reconciliation journey:

Narragunnawali – Narragunnawali Home

Ngunawal | Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services | Canberra

Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre | National Museum of Australia (nma.gov.au)

The Bunyip and the Stars | National Museum of Australia (nma.gov.au)

New program supports Aboriginal children to thrive in Nowra | Media Release | SNAICC

Schools Resource Kit | The Healing Foundation

AIATSIS Guide to evaluating and selecting education resources | AIATSIS corporate website

Kanyini | A film by Melanie Hogan

National Reconciliation Week – Reconciliation Australia

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