As part of National Reconciliation Week, Brooke Prentis reflects on why Reconciliation is important.
National Reconciliation Week 2018’s theme is Don’t Keep History a Mystery – Learn, Share, Grow. An important theme. Australians know so little about the history of this land. I’m not talking about 230 to 248 years ago but from 65,000 years ago to present day.
I’ve recently been asking people, as I ask you now, these three questions:
- Can you name three Aboriginal nations/people groups?
- When is Reconciliation Week?
- What is this year’s NAIDOC Week theme?
Many Christians cannot score 100 per cent. For me, these are the easy questions, the basics.
Reconciliation is important, but it can’t just be important to First Nation peoples – we can’t do Reconciliation on our own. As First Nation Christian Leader, Safina Stewart, recently said, “We need you. But more importantly, we want you.”
To achieve Reconciliation requires us to ask the easy questions but also the hard questions, the questions that reveal the answers so we don’t keep history a mystery. Questions and answers create conversation – we need more conversation. If you have a conversation with me this Reconciliation Week, you’ll hear I would rather call Reconciliation friendship. My hope is that you want to be friends with First Nation people – that means talking with us, having dinner with us, marching the streets with us. Being friends with us means you will ask others the questions and you will be telling others about how Australia’s history still affects the present.
The Bible tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Australia will never truly be at peace unless we achieve Reconciliation and there can be no Reconciliation without truth and justice. My hope is that you rethink Reconciliation this week and ask God to help you see what you need to learn, to change, and to do, to take your place in helping to bring about Reconciliation in Australia. May we all remember Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.
Brooke Prentis is an Aboriginal Christian Leader who is a descendant of the Waka Waka peoples and is the Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering.