Today, 26 May, is National Sorry Day. Charles Sturt University acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their homes, families and communities. We acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generation Survivors and reflect how we can all play a part in the healing process.
We acknowledge the truth of our history because to do otherwise would prevent us in genuinely working towards reconciliation with First Nations People. Almost 24 years since the first National Sorry Day, and 14 years since Prime Minister Rudd’s National Apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still more than 10 times likely to be removed from their families compared to non-Indigenous children. There remains much work to do.
National Reconciliation Week commences tomorrow, 27 May. This is a time for all of us to learn about our country’s histories, cultures, and achievements, and consider how we can individually and collectively contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. In yesterday’s Town Hall, I spoke about the commitments we have made on First Nations engagement. This includes finalising our Reconciliation Action Plan by the end of the year.
As part of our commitments, during National Reconciliation Week we will be commencing consultation about how we best develop a holistic, whole-of-University framework for our First Nations engagement. All staff will be encouraged to share their thoughts, either individually, as a team or in small groups.
Making First Nations engagement genuine and meaningful is very important to the University and very important to me, and accordingly I am taking a personal lead in making sure we do this well. I thank you all for your contributions to the process.