Reconciliation Walk

By Kimberley Price

ACKNOWLEDGING the past, understanding Australia’s history, recognising other cultures and respecting everyone are the key messages spread throughout Reconciliation Week.

And on Monday thousands turned out to show their support to all of the above in Echuca.

A long line of people from all backgrounds and cultural groups came together as one.

School groups also joined in and not only learnt the importance of respecting everyone, no matter their background, but also discovered the harsh reality of Australia’s cruel history to Aboriginal people.

Uncle Rick Ronnan, Neva Atkinson, Andrew and Colin Walker and Keith Hearn shared their stories about growing up as Indigenous in our community who all shared the same message — that education of Australia’s history is key.

Monday’s Reconciliation Walk is part of Reconciliation Week which is bookended by the 1967 referendum where non-indigenous Australians overwhelmingly voted to include indigenous Australians in the census and remove them from the ‘Flora and Fauna’ category and The Mabo Case where the land rights of the Meriam people were recognised, providing a catalyst for wider recognition and understanding of the traditional land owners and the implementation of native title.

‘‘Today is about black and white coming together,’’ Uncle Rick Ronnan said.

‘‘It is a week of sharing our culture and knowledge to the non-Indigenous people of this land.’’

The walk aims to promote acceptance and understanding of all cultures, no matter the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation or the country they were born in. It hopes to bring people of all backgrounds together and move the community forward as one.

‘‘We had an absolutely amazing crowd turn out,’’ Baroona Youth Healing Centre manager Keith Hearn said.

‘‘Lots of schools came down to the event and we’re so proud to share this with them.

‘‘We’re proud of what we’re trying to create here in Echuca and we’re going to build it in the years to come.’’

The ceremony finished with Rochester secondary and primary schools winning the Campaspe Shire banner competition, walking away with a $500 Intersports Bennett’s voucher.