Unfortunately the Gathering event on Wednesday has been cancelled by the Brisbane City Council.
Walk Together with Courage
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs annually from 27 May to 3 June. These historical dates bookend two important milestones in Australia: the anniversaries of the 1967 referendum; and the historic Mabo Decision. The 1967 referendum is our most successful referendum. It is remembered as a public campaign for equality and an acknowledgement of the inequalities faced by Aboriginal Australians. The Mabo Decision was a landmark case in the High Court of Australia in 1992 which recognised native title in Australia for the first time.
This year's theme for NRW is Grounded in Truth; Walk Together with Courage. "To foster positive race relations, the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader community must be grounded in a foundation of truth." Whether you're starting challenging conversations or relearning what you think you know, the reconciliation journey requires all Australians to walk together with courage. For further information see NRW website.
Indigenous Dancers (May Cross)
I encourage you to get involved in these events as they present an opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each and every one of us can join in the national reconciliation effort. This year, we share and grow by exploring and learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander past history and rich cultures and develop a deeper understanding of our national story.
1. Movie: Gurrumul (PG, 2017, 96 minutes) Wednesday 29 May from 12:3 0pm to 2:30 pm at Wynnum Library, 145 Florence Street, Wynnum. Free but bookings required. Phone Wynnum Library on 07 3403 2199 to reserve your place. Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and revered voices to ever come out of Australia. Blind from birth, he found purpose through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. Living a traditional Yolngu life, his breakthrough album was Gurrumul brought his work to audiences at home and internationally. I have long been a fan of his music, as are hundreds of thousands around the world. Like me, you may also enjoy the biography Gurrumul: his life and music by Robert Hillman.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (May Cross)
2. Yarning and Poetry with Aunty Theresa Creed Wednesday 29 May from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Corinda Library, 641 Oxley Road, Corinda. Free but bookings required. Phone Corinda Library on 07 3407 7701 to reserve your place. Theresa Creed is a performance poet and calls upon her long history as a dancer, actor and singer, and her ancient culture of ceremony. She was born on Woorabinda Aboriginal Mission and is a respected elder of the Pitta Pitta and Kalkadoon nations of North West Queensland, Theresa's poetry tells her story and the history of her family, from the early times to invasion, the Aboriginal mission, the land rights movement and her life today.
3. Indigenous Performance Programme - Gathering Gathering is an Indigenous Performance Programme showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders live in the Queen Street Mall every Wednesday at lunchtime. It is the only Indigenous Performance Programme in Australia that happens weekly in the heart of a major capital city.
29 May at 12.00 noon to 1.00 pm in Queen Street Mall, Brisbane (free). Dee'rum-wan'dam yau'ar means 'sunrise dancers' in Kabi Kabi language. They dance from stories told to them by family, re-creating their interpretation of their country. Some of their songs are old, passed down the generations, honouring the old people who came before them. Other dances are their own creation, their own songs and stories to be passed on.
Dee'rum-wan'dam yau'ar (image from organiser's website)
4. Meet Aunty Flo Watson Saturday 1 June at 10:00 am to 11.30 am at North Lakes Library, 1o The Corso, North Lakes. Free but registration essential. Includes morning tea. All welcome.
Explore reconciliation from the perspective of Aunty Flo. Flo Watson is a traditional owner and proud descendant of the Ghunghanghi people of north Queensland. Since moving to Brisbane in the 1970s to attend teacher's college she has worked as a senior public servant and consultant advising governments and Aboriginal organisation. She an Elder with the Brisbane Lord Mayor's Council. She is a founding member of the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (APAC) and was appointed by the Queensland Premier as their first Patron. In 2015 she received an OAM (Order of Australia medal) for her service to Indigenous communities.
5 Skylore: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy
From 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily in the Foyer, Gallery and Mini Theatre (free).
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium's Display Zone is where you will discover Skylore: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy. This exhibition features some of Australia's leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders sharing their star knowledge. The exhibition was curated by Dr Duane Hamacher, an astronomer and academic working closely with Indigenous communities. Remember that the first Australians have looked to the stars for tens of thousands of years. The sky is a map of wisdom and knowledge and like the oral tradition of sharing information, it continues to be passed down to younger generations. Skylore is a permanent legacy from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan.
Can you see the Emu in the Sky? (May Cross)
6. Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): Dick Roughsey: Stories of This Land
From 30 March to 18 August at GOMA in South Brisbane (free).
Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey (1920-85) was a pioneer and figurehead of indigenous art and culture. This exhibition displays 70 works including bark paintings and ceremonial objects.
7. Indigenous Australian Art Collection: Namatjira Story
This is a free and permanent display at GOMA which features early paintings by Albert Namatjira, our best known aboriginal artist. Alongside them, are works by artists who were influenced by him, including many from his extended family.
8. Overturning terra nullius: the story of native title
From 8.30 am to 4.30 pm at the Sir Henry Gibbs Legal Heritage Centre on the ground floor of the Brisbane Courts of Law.
When Captain Cook claimed possession of Australia for Britain he did so on the basis of terra nullius which is a Latin term meaning "land belonging to no one". It was used as a legal concept for acquiring land deemed to be unoccupied or uncultivated. And of course it had catastrophic ramifications for our First Nations peoples. This is a must see free exhibition to learn about Native Title and the legal story of colonisation in Australia. Look out for PM Gough Whitlam's role in 1975.
What is Native Title? (May Cross)
9. Tomorrow's Traditions
On Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 am to 4.00 pm until 1 June at Tony Gould Gallery, QPAC, South Brisbane.
I chanced on Tomorrow's Traditions when I was attending another event at QPAC. Small, but engaging, the exhibition showcases the evolution of Aboriginal song and dance in South East Queensland. Go along see and hear the diversity of storytelling through art by exploring movement, language, body paint, instruments, and cultural exchange. This free and vibrant exhibition was inspired by QPAC's Clancestry and Yawar, and Gathering events held from 2013 to 2015.
10. Reading for Reconciliation
On Sunday 2 June from 10.30 to 12.30 at Brisbane Square Library, Brisbane CBD.
If you are just starting your reconciliation journey and want to improve your knowledge and understanding of indigenous Australians, you may enjoy this group. The friendly folk who attend these informal meetings will guide you through reading and discussion of selected monthly texts. The book for June, which is available from the library, is The Missing Man by Peter Rees.
Meet at Meeanjin Markets (May Cross)
11. Meeanjin Markets
On Friday 31 May from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm and Saturday 1 June from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm at Reddacliff Place in Brisbane CBD.
These markets are one of my favourites in Brisbane. It is on for two days and showcases some of South East Queensland's authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, music and artisan products. Enjoy shopping, dance performances, live music, workshops, children's entertainment and lots of native foods stalls. The Markets are a legacy from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where more than 10,000 people embraced the opportunity to meet indigenous artists and performers and buy their authentic artworks. Some of the stalls I love include Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, The Henderson Gallery and First Food Co.