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Join us for National Sorry Day 2017

24 May 2017

In recognition of National Sorry Day on 26 May and National Reconciliation Week, 27 May to 3 June, Council, in collaboration with local Indigenous and Wurundjeri Elders, is inviting the community to join in a vibrant programme of events at Maroondah Federation Estate.

A Welcome to Country ceremony by Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Georgina Nicholson and smoking ceremony by Jesse Gardiner will begin the day, followed by performances by award-winning singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards together with the locally based Mullum Mullum Community Choir.

Friday 26 May will also be the last opportunity to view the fabulous exhibition Cultural Connections by the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place Arts Collective at Maroondah Access Gallery.

Maroondah Mayor, Councillor Tony Dib, will officially open the event and encouraged the community to come along to this special day.

“It’s important we take the time to remember the past injustice to Aboriginal people and government policies of forced child removal that have resulted in the Stolen Generations, as well as recognising the signs of resilience, healing and the power of saying sorry,” Cr Dib said.

The sounds of Kutcha Edwards

Kutcha Edwards, a Mutti-Mutti man, has performed in Maroondah for National Sorry Day over the past five years and has deep connections to the local Indigenous community.

A leading voice of the Stolen Generations, Kutcha explains, “music is not what I do; it is who I am”.

His music echoes themes of hope, resilience, redemption, and joy.

A proud recipient of the 2001 NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the Year award, Kutcha continues to play a vital role in what he feels is his responsibility to educate all Australians on the plight of forced removal of Indigenous children from their parents, families, and country.

“It’s about creating awareness as to what has transpired, not only in my life, but for many others of the Stolen Generations,” he says.

As one of the Stolen Generations, he, along with five of his siblings, was removed from his family when he was 18 months old and institutionalised for nearly 13 years. It was only after years of separation that he was reunited with his mother and three younger siblings.

“I was fortunate to have grown up with five other family members, but there are people still looking for their connection,” Kutcha says.

He hopes people come away from the day having learnt something and begin the conversation with other family members.

Following National Sorry Day 2016, an opportunity was identified for Kutcha to undertake a song writing project with local young people to develop material for future performances. In consultation with the MMIGP, the project was extended to include song writing with MMIGP Elders and hip hop group, as well as with young people from a local school.

Mullum Mullum Choir

The Mullum Mullum Choir was founded in July 2014 and has up to 24 community members involved in weekly rehearsals and regular public performances.

The choir supports its members to explore issues of identity, culture, and healing.

As an Aboriginal community-led group, the choir aims to strengthen community and cultural connections to counteract the impact of dispossession, intergenerational trauma, and loss of kinship connections.

What is National Sorry Day?

National Sorry Day is an annual event that has been held in Australia on 26 May, since 1998, to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the country’s Indigenous population.

Between 1910-1970, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families under various government policies, resulting in the ‘Stolen Generations’.

The policies of child removal left a legacy of trauma and loss that continues to affect Indigenous communities, families, and individuals.

Reconciliation Week 2017

cultural connectionsEvery year, Council celebrates Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June – with a range of free events and activities. The week is an opportunity to:

  • Acknowledge the traditional owners of the Maroondah land
  • Learn more about Indigenous culture and heritage
  • Celebrate Reconciliation amongst all Australians

The theme for 2017 Reconciliation Week is ‘Let’s take the next steps’.

This National Reconciliation Week is a chance reflect on two significant anniversaries in Australia’s Reconciliation journey – 50 years since the 1967 Referendum and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision.

As we commemorate these significant milestones, we ask all Australians to be a part of the next big steps in our nation’s Reconciliation journey.

Reconciliation involves justice, recognition, and healing. It’s about helping all Australians move forward with a better understanding of the past and how the past affects the lives of Indigenous people today.

The community is asked to come along for the launch of Reconciliation Week at Maroondah Federation Estate at 9.30am on Friday 26 May for National Sorry Day 2017.

During Reconciliation Week, Realm Library storytimes will also have an Indigenous theme. Phone 9800 6430 to make a booking.

The Reconcilation Week activities are funded through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Council takes steps towards the healing journey

Maroondah’s Indigenous heritage and culture is something the community can be proud of.
We have strong links to the Wurundjeri Tribe and local Indigenous community, with many of our places and spaces named in honour of their history.

Council is in the process of implementing our very first Reconciliation Action Plan, which is currently being reviewed for endorsement by Reconciliation Australia and is to be launched later this year.

Through various initiatives and practices, Council remains committed to the important process of Reconciliation. We will continue to build meaningful and sustainable Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Our vision for Maroondah is that we will be a municipality that;

  • Fosters and promotes equality, openness, trust, mutual respect and opportunities
  • Strives to enhance health (physically, emotionally and spiritually), social, cultural, economic, education and employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians
  • Recognises and celebrates traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture, knowledge, customary practices and Indigenous peoples’ deep relationship to land, kinship and country.

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