Reconciliation is a continuous journey and something all Australians can commit to working towards together. For Reconciliation Week 2020 we asked our supporters, partners and staff to tell us what reconciliation meant to them. We got some powerful and honest reflections.
“If we're caring for our country, we’re caring for our people. Bush Heritage are listening and supporting our people to be on country so our young people can learn for country. If people are connected to country, we're eating bush food, we're healthy, our knowledge is healthy, and our program is getting stronger.”
– Otto Bulmaniya Campion, Arafura Swamp Rangers
#InthisTogether makes me think of this photo. It’s a personal favourite of mine as it captures a moment when a Girringun Ranger and one of our volunteers were having a great yarn over a lunch-break during Siam Weed surveys. The Siam surveys are one of the toughest tasks we undertake each year and it brings together staff, volunteers and contractors. The Girringun Rangers have also been supporting the surveys for the last five years. Siaming really can be a slog but it is made enjoyable by the company and the fact that we do it as a team. For that reason, it is a highlight of our year.”
– Leanne Hales, Volunteer Coordinator
"Reconciliation ga Balanda ga Yolŋi djäma yu mini wipaṉimul ga nyuni ni ginydji baḻpuŋ nyini yi. Reconciliation is about letting Aboriginal people walk first, working together and listening to get more knowledge. When we work with Bush Heritage we’re always saying like, 'Ma Gurruwilling gnalpim ga miningburil ga gapiraypynril'. 'Okay, lets go to the Arafura Swamp, let’s go to the jungle, let’s go to the freshwater place.' Gnarri ngarr djämi yu garmi monitoring and evaluation ga cultural mapping. We are working together, doing monitoring and evaluation and cultural mapping. We look what’s in the water, what’s in the jungle and what’s in the rocks, and at our bush food. We are checking if they are healthy."
– Mali Djarrbal (in the Djinba dialect of Yolŋu Matha), Arafura Swamp Rangers
“Reconciliation means to me that there is a shared journey of education, learning and understanding. This year's theme, In this together, draws attention to the relationship that needs to be rebuilt with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It means that it is not only during reconciliation week that the journey is shared, but everyday. Being involved in Bush Heritage Australia shines a light on how meaningful such relationships can be and grow. As a Wangkamadla woman, I work together with Bush Heritage Australia to advance the outcomes of our people.” – Avelina Tarrago @desertbilby Bush Heritage Board member.
“Reconciliation entails listening and learning, respecting culture and Traditional knowledge, moving together toward a unified future” – Rob Murphy, Executive Manager North Australia
Photo of Maiawali Traditional Owner Judith Harrison with Rob at Pullen Pullen Reserve.
“Reconciliation to me is about Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together to appreciate and value Aboriginal ways of looking after Country. We do this in partnership - together by valuing each other’s knowledge and respect for Country, like we Budjiti mob are doing with Bush Heritage”
– Phillip Eulo, Budjiti Elder, and family.
“Reconciliation to me means the on-going journey of walking together towards a future of social justice, strong self-determination and respect for all Indigenous Australians – celebrated by every Australian. I feel that working side by side on country; bringing both Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge and worldviews together for a shared goal is reconciliation in action. Over our five-year partnership it’s been my privilege to do this with Olkola Traditional Owners and to experience firsthand Olkola’s strength and commitment to their people, country and culture.” - Allana Brown, Healthy Country Manager Cape York;Olkola Aboriginal Corporation
“For me ‘In this together’ is being deeply respectful and embracing learning the right-way to care for the land with those who have been the custodians for the past 60,000 years. We can only protect Australia’s unique plants and animals if we work together.” – Heather Campbell, Bush Heritage CEO