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Reflection questions and activities for National Reconciliation Week

Geraldine Martin |  15 May 2018

Read the blog article 'National Sorry Day' and answer the following questions. Share your answers in pairs or groups. 

Reflection questions

1. Reflect on the theme 'Don’t keep history a mystery'. What do you think this means?

2. What does National Reconciliation Week mean? Where did the idea originate and why is it so important to all of us to be part of the shared history of Australia?

3. Why do you think the Australian public prefers not to be reminded of the wrongs Indigenous Australians have suffered? Why do you think there is a need for reconciliation?

4. Many peoples have suffered discrimination and exclusion over the centuries. Think of some other countries and what they have done to right the wrongs of the past.

5. Jesus was a Jew and lived in Palestine where the indigenous peoples were treated and are still treated as if they are mere visitors to the land. How do you think Jesus would have felt and how do you think Jesus would be treating the Palestinian people today?

6. Why in our faith is it so important for us to remember our history? What is it that lies at the heart of our faith?

Activities

1. Go to the internet and look up all you can find about National Reconciliation Week.  Write down why this is such a significant week in the history of all of us living in Australia.

2. Reconciliation is an ongoing process. Find out what other opportunities you and your school could get involved with during the year. Once you have discovered these get together in small groups and talk about what action could take place. 

3. If nothing has been organised by your school in Reconciliation Week be bold and suggest to your homeroom teacher or to administration that something needs to be done to remind all of us of the history of our past. One idea: Students could draw their hands and write a reconciliation message on it. If they can be attached to a stick that can be put into the ground or on a lawn in the school so much the better. 

4. Listen to some songs from YouTube about the beginnings of the Australian Reconciliation Movement eg. Blackfella, Whitefella/Dirtsong or 1967 Referendum eg. I’m on your side/Song to Sing/Freedom or The High Court’s Mabo decision eg. My Island Home. What are the songs saying? Why is a song so much more stirring than just words?  

Younger students

1. The teacher will need to read the article and explain what National Reconciliation Week means. What does reconciliation mean in the classroom? Young students need to compare what is real for them to what has happened in history. Is there a student in their class that is ostracised because of difference?

2. Listen to the song 'My Island Home' by Christine Anu. Let students listen to this and set some questions about how important her Island home is to her. Why is the land so important? What can we learn from the Aboriginal people about love of land and sea?

3. Let students draw their homes and then write a paragraph of why it is so important to them. Would they like it if they were lose their homes, their land and all that is dear to them? Explain to them that this is what happened to many of the Aboriginal people and we need to be sure that it may never happen again.

For more National Reconciliation Week stories and resources, go to www.reconciliation.org.au

 

Topic tags: socialjustice-australia, indigenousaustralians

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