National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June

In May, we acknowledge two significant events. The first is National Sorry Day on 26 May and the second is National Reconciliation Week from 27 May until 3 June each year.

What is National Sorry Day?

National Sorry Day recognises the negative impact of past Australian policies, practices and attitudes on Indigenous people.

Observed annually on 26 May, National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities. The generation of children removed under these policies are known as the Stolen Generations. The policies of child removal left a legacy of trauma and loss that continues to affect Indigenous communities, families and individuals to this day.

National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians around the country. This day gives people the opportunity to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities.

National Sorry Day is the day before National Reconciliation Week. On the path to reconciliation, it is important to acknowledge and raise awareness of the history and continued effects of the Stolen Generation. From this, we are able to build and celebrate the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

What is National Reconciliation Week?

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. This week celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. It is a time to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Reconciliation involves building positive, respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. These relationships form the foundation which enables us to work together to close the gaps, achieve a shared sense of fairness and justice and enhance our national wellbeing.

The dates for National Reconciliation Week remain the same each year and commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey. May 27th marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to remove clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. June 3rd marks the anniversary of the 1992 High Court Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia overturned the doctrine of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one). This decision recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights over their lands which existed prior to the establishment of the British Colony and still exist today.

What are key messages?

The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2023 is Be a Voice for Generations. This encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise. All Australians are encouraged to use their power, their words and their actions to create a better, more just Australia for all of us. 

You can read more about the theme for 2023 here

How to get involved

This National Reconciliation Week we are encouraged to ensure our actions are as loud as our voices. Reconciliation Australia have developed a range of actions to take, not just during National Reconciliation Week, but every day of the year. 

For tangible ways that you can Be a Voice for Generations, and to find local events for National Reconciliation Week, click here

What's Diabetes SA's role?

As an organisation dedicated to empowering people to live well with diabetes and raise awareness for those at risk of diabetes in South Australia, we understand the impact diabetes has in our Indigenous communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are at least three times more likely to have diabetes when compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

Diabetes SA recognises the importance of building strong, positive and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is through these relationships that Diabetes SA can educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about diabetes prevention and support those living with diabetes.

Diabetes SA have dedicated staff who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health professionals. Our staff visit Indigenous communities and health services across South Australia to provide culturally appropriate education and resources on the prevention and management of diabetes.