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Reconciliation is an ongoing process – not just one week a year

Reconciliation is an ongoing process – not just one week a year

Reconciliation is an ongoing process – not just one week a year

“One of the biggest challenges over the years has been dealing with people who are ill informed
about the issues facing Aboriginal people,” says Lindsay, who says that a desire to improve social
outcomes for First Peoples is what drew him to his ministry and to working with remote
Aboriginal communities.

For Lindsay, Reconciliation Week puts a spotlight on the need for reconciliation among non-
Aboriginal people, but he believes this is a journey that needs to be continued for the other 51
weeks of the year as well.

“Few people are informed about the health and welfare conditions for our First Peoples in
remote communities, specifically around housing,” says Lindsay. “But they’re also not aware of
the strength of the indigenous spirit and their ability to adapt and be receptive to the dominant
culture.”

According to Lindsay, one of the biggest challenges facing the people in his community is the
withdrawal of funding for essential services, which may force different communities to converge.
“The move to centralisation is one of the hidden agendas in the dominant culture, but it’s
important for our First Peoples to stay on Country, on their homelands,” he says.
“We need to stop talking and start listening to indigenous requests. And by listen, I mean actively
listen, rather than ‘consulting’ and moving in with an already pre-conceived idea or agenda of
what should happen.”

Lindsay also speaks of the need for Australia’s Second Peoples to understand the indigenous
decision-making process – which is not snap driven. “Conversations need to go around,” he says.
“All the various groups have to be consulted before decisions are made. It’s not a fly-in-fly-out
diplomacy.”

As we move into the last days of 2020’s National Reconciliation Week, Lindsay leaves us with
these poignant words:
“Reconciliation is an ongoing process – not just one week a year. We are ‘in this together” in that
we are a collective called Australia – we are living side by side. Unless we recognise the strength
of our neighbours and start working with them, reconciliation is just a word.”