Striving for reconciliation
A group of passionate Indigenous students are behind an inspiring project that everyone can contribute to.
In its broadest sense ‘reconciliation’ means coming together. In Australia it is the term used to refer to the bringing together of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, or Indigenous, and non-Indigenous Australians. Supporting reconciliation means working to overcome the reasons there is division and inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA) brought together 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from the ages of 15–18 from across Australia to create campaigns they are passionate about. With the support of “Recognise This” a small group of Indigenous students developed the campaign ‘Recognise This: The 1000 Voices Project’. Through this youth led campaign the 15 passionate Indigenous students created a Facebook page, YouTube channel, petition and a newspaper article supporting Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
‘Recognise This: The 1000 Voices Project’ will consist of Australians recognising inspiring Indigenous people by recording videos or writing stories and uploading the stories to the ‘The 1000 Voices Project Facebook page’ or the ‘YouTube National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA) page’ this will promote Indigenous achievements and culture around the nation and will give others the chance to share their thoughts about the referendum.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lived on this land for more than 40,000 years, but the Indigenous people aren’t mentioned in the Australian National Constitution allowing for racial discrimination. The young Indigenous leaders strive to give other Indigenous and non-Indigenous people awareness about the importance of a referendum with a date to be decided within the next few years. Their goal is reconciliation and unity across the nation and they plan to achieve this by campaigning.
“Constitutional recognition is such an important issue and it won’t be successful unless we encourage conversations around it which is what the 1000 voices Project will achieve. It’s about starting a conversation ripple, a ripple that’s in our friendship circles, it’s a ripple in our own family and schools and that starts a wave that will sweep across the nation that will hopefully lead us all the way to a positive outcome with the referendum in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will be recognised in our nation’s constitution as the first Australians”. Benson Saulo, NILYA Director.
The Indigenous leaders believe that it is an extremely important issue which they are proud to be campaigning about, Nathan Woodall one of the campaign members said “I think the 1000 voices project is a really good idea because it’s the first time a small group of young people have come together to talk about this issue, which is a really serious issue and I feel that by recording 1000 voices from across Australia represents and symbolises the 40,000 years of recognition that has been lost”.
This step to moving forward will mean that the reconciliation process and approval of the referendum in the constitution will give all Indigenous Australians a sense of belonging to their land and culture and that the discrimination will be put in the past. ‘Australia One History One Future’.