An Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony, a Sorry Walk and stories of the stolen generation marked Council’s 2022 commemoration of National Sorry Day.
The event, at Council’s Civic Centre in South Morang, included a Welcome to Country as well as a keynote speech from Lisa Zammit, the Chief Executive Officer of Connecting Home about the Stolen Generations and Redress Scheme.
Local community Elder Uncle Herb Patten then guided attendees through a Sorry Walk to the Sorry Space at Civic Centre and flags were lowered to half-mast to honour members of the Stolen Generation who did not come home.
City of Whittlesea Administrator and Whittlesea Reconciliation Group member Peita Duncan said the day was about taking time to pause and understand the impact of the Stolen Generation.
“Sorry Day is about understanding the impact of our history on Aboriginal people. It’s about ensuring there is understanding and truth-telling of the history of this country,” she said.
“We first commemorated National Sorry Day here at Council in 2002, led by the late Uncle Reg Blow and the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group. Today some 20 years later, we re-affirm our commitment to reconciliation, and to continuing to build relationships and understanding.”
Ms Duncan said with the second largest Aboriginal population in metropolitan Melbourne, Council had taken significant steps over the years towards reconciliation.
Having completed its Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, the City of Whittlesea will soon begin work on an updated Reconciliation Action Plan. Council is also working with the local community to create an Aboriginal Gathering Place.
“Moving forward in the City of Whittlesea we want to deepen our understanding of our rich Aboriginal culture and heritage and through initiatives such as the Aboriginal Gathering Place, the City of Whittlesea hopes to foster positive change and reconciliation with the First Nations people of this land,” Ms Duncan said.
Sorry Day falls on the eve of Reconciliation Week, which runs from 27 May - 3 June. The 2022 theme is “Be brave. Make change”