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Maroondah to celebrate National Reconciliation Week 2020 with online program of activities

Published on 21 May 2020
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  • Arts and culture
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The community is invited to a live-streamed performance and Q&A with one of Australia’s most respected and inspiring singer-songwriters, proud Mutti Mutti man, Kutcha Edwards, in celebration of National Reconciliation Week 2020 – from 27 May to 3 June.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Council’s Reconciliation program is moving online with a range of activities in partnership with Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place (MMIGP) and Maroondah Movement for Reconciliation.

Wednesday 27 May will see the launch of Reconciliation Week with the release of a video featuring the Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Mike Symon, and Chair of MMIGP Karen Milward.

Karen, a proud Yorta Yorta woman, is a strong advocate for culturally appropriate solutions to issues confronting Indigenous people.

She said the video was an opportunity to promote Aboriginal cultural heritage in Maroondah, as well as highlight the aspirations of Indigenous people, some of the challenges faced, and how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can work together towards improving cultural knowledge, acceptance and understanding.

“Reconciliation Week is an opportunity to showcase Aboriginal culture within our communities as a way of bringing us together. It’s one week where we get to promote who we are, our aspirations for the future, and to improve cultural awareness and understanding,” she said.

On Thursday 28 May at 11am, members of the community can tune in to a live-streamed performance by Kutcha Edwards on the Arts in Maroondah Facebook page. Viewers can also take part in a live Q&A with the legendary award-winning singer-songwriter and members of the MMIGP community following the performance.

Kutcha Edwards performs regularly at Reconciliation Week activities in Maroondah and has deep connections to the local Indigenous community. Through stories, songs and conversations, Kutcha explores, defines and imparts his understanding of what it means to be an Indigenous person in Australia today and the history that brought us to this point in time.

A series of short videos, including a mini-documentary ‘Yeng Gali Mullum - A Reconciliation Choir’, will also be shared on the Arts in Maroondah Facebook page as an opportunity for the community to learn more about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to the reconciliation effort.

National Reconciliation Week runs annually from 27 May to 3 June. The dates that bookend the week commemorate the anniversaries of the 1967 Referendum and the historic Australian High Court Mabo decision, respectively.

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Mike Symon, said Council is committed to the important process of reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians valuing heritage, justice and equity for all Australians,” Cr Symon said.

“Through culture, sharing of stories and continuing to work closely together, we can build a greater shared understanding and a better world for all,” he said.

“The Maroondah Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-2020 outlines Council’s strong commitment and activities being undertaken to work towards reconciliation in the municipality.

“Council values its strong partnerships with the local Indigenous community.

“We are very fortunate to have MMIGP as part of our community. Their commitment to retaining, promoting and strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity in the Eastern Metropolitan region of Melbourne is formidable and has had a significant impact.

“Every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures,” he added.

Cr Symon said this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme, ‘In This Together’, resonated in more ways than one in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s theme is a reminder to everyone that whether in a crisis or in reconciliation, we are all #InThisTogether,” he said.

Visit our Maroondah Celebrates Reconciliation page for details on how to view the live stream and the full online program for Reconciliation Week in Maroondah.

Kutcha Edwards

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Kutcha Edwards, a proud Mutti Mutti man, has been prolifically combining activism and song-writing for almost three decades.

In the great Aboriginal tradition, Kutcha tells his incredible life’s journey through his songs and stories – some humorous, others heart-rending.

Kutcha explains: “Music is not what I do; it’s who I am.”

“My songs may be contemporary, but they are more than 40,000 years old. They come through me from my ancestors and my people and they tell our stories,” he says.

A leading voice of the Stolen Generations, Kutcha continues to play a vital role in what he feels is his responsibility to educate all Australians on the plight of forced removal of Indigenous children from their parents, families, and country.

“It’s about creating awareness as to what has transpired, not only in my life, but for many others of the Stolen Generations,” he says.

The award-winning singer-songwriter has an extensive body of work including several solo albums, significant collaborative ventures, and music theatre productions.

Kutcha has won numerous awards and accolades including the Melbourne Prize for Music in 2016 and induction into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame.

History of Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation Week was first celebrated in 1996 and is timed to coincide with two significant dates in Australia’s history. 

May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Indigenous people had a special relationship to the land – that existed prior to colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for Indigenous land rights, called Native Title.

In 2020, Reconciliation Australia marks 20 years of operation in shaping Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.

Reconciliation Australia was established in 2001 and is the lead body for reconciliation in the nation.

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