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National Reconciliation Week 2024: “Now More Than Ever”

National Reconciliation Week 2024

The theme for National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 2024, “Now More Than Ever,” underscores the ongoing and essential fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 

On 28 February 2024, we proudly hosted our inaugural National Reconciliation Week Event. The event commenced with a heartfelt Welcome to Country by Uncle Warren Taggart, followed by a captivating traditional dance performance by the Hunter Sports High School Minimbah Dancers. Our special guest speaker, Tanika Perry, also shared her invaluable insights. Staff gathered on Wonnarua land to celebrate, learn, and listen. Those unable to attend in person were able to join via live stream, allowing our team across NSW and QLD to unite for this significant cause.

 

Uncle Warren shared profound stories about the Wonnarua people’s deep connection to the land and Mother Earth. He described how Baime stretched his arms open to protect the Hunter Valley and how the eagle spirit Kawal painted the sky blue with his wings. The Minimbah Dancers performed several traditional dances, including the Welcome Dance, Bird Dance, and Spearfishing Dance.

 

Our First Nations Senior Advisor, Bradley Burns, highlighted Challenge Community Services’ commitment to reconciliation through the introduction of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

This year, the theme is “Now more than ever”. After a big year last year, it is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will and must continue.

At Challenge, we are forging ahead with the work to bring us closer towards reconciliation. 2023 saw us launch our very first Reconciliation Action Plan. We continue to work towards achieving our deliverables, and are doing so at a steady pace.

We are committed to working in ways that are supportive and empowering of First Nations people, their families and communities.

We are committed to:

  • Partner with First Nations staff, clients, families and communities to support our journey of reconciliation and to achieve our aim to improve outcomes for all and provide culturally safe practices and service provision.
  • To Embed culturally safe practice into recruitment and retention processes, as well as into existing policies, programs, procedures, procurement and services.
  • To reflect on our own level of cultural safety and identify required improvements throughout our journey.
  • To Uphold the right of First Nations peoples to self-determination and autonomy by respectful engagement and shared decision making with First Nations communities and organisations.
  • To Establish a relationship of trust and respect with First Nations staff, clients and communities.
  • And to Support our people to undertake ongoing cultural safety learning through professional and personal development.

We believe that reconciliation means to work in a meaningful and respectful way with First Nations peoples. We are committed to work in collaboration and partnership with First Nations people, organisations and communities.

So go out and get involved in community, learn from First Nations peoples and actively participate!

Tanika Perry, a proud Worimi Bundjalung woman and First Nation Engagement Specialist, shared her experiences as a First Nations woman and mother of a child with autism. Her advice and insights were invaluable, encouraging us to listen, learn, and bravely ask the hard questions. The Yarning time after the event was an especially meaningful time, for our staff to connect with their culture and with each other.

 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to making this event a success. We hope that everyone left feeling inspired and empowered to continue the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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