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This morning I'm still thinking about yesterday - Sorry Day in Australia. I attended a very moving event and was fortunate enough to listen to the stories shared by some remarkable indigenous people. Sorry Day is not about saying sorry. Of course it's implied that we are sorry for what these people and their families went through, but this is a day of reconciliation and coming together. It's about being quiet for a change and listening to the experiences of others, it's about being part of a solution instead of seeing only problems, it's about acceptance of one another and the past, and moving forward - together.
There were four flags flying at the entrance of the neighbourhood centre when I arrived. The first one - red, black and gold, is the Australian Indigenous flag, then the Torres Strait Islander flag, the Queensland flag and the Australian flag. Our neighbourhood centre sits on Kabi Kabi traditional land.
Wiruungga and Kerry conducted a smoking ceremony to cleanse everyone as they entered.
Some of the women singing in language. Aunty Beverly is on the end and she's totally blurred out. Sorry Bev!
The Kabi Kabi dancers.
At our Sorry Day, Aunty Pam and Aunty Beverly shared the stories of their families and country then, one by one, several indigenous folk came forth, shared their stories and how they and their families had been affected by our former government's policies. These are strong people. To have survived what they did and still be here, smiling and willing to share their rich culture with us, is something close to wonderful. We are one nation and together, helped along by events like that one yesterday, we'll move towards a better deal for us all. No one is saying sorry every year, what we are doing is becoming friends, getting to know each other and developing trust; we are learning about their culture and languages - they know a lot about ours. There was a warm feeling of mutual acceptance yesterday. It's been a long time coming.
This photo wasn't taken yesterday but it is of my good friend Beverly Hand and me. I am very proud of Aunty Beverly for many reasons but she was recently awarded a Senior Fellowship at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where she speaks as a guest lecturer and acts as an advisor on conservation and land management.