As reconciliation week draws to an end, Rachael Wedd, explores the meaning of reconciliation.
Reconcile – the Collins English dictionary definition has five elements to it:
- to make no longer opposed; cause to aquiesce in something unpleasant;
- to become friendly with (someone) after estrangement or to re-establish friendly relations between (two or more people);
- to settle a quarrel or difference;
- to make (two apparently conflicting things) compatible or consistent with each other; and
- to reconsecrate (ie a Church).
From the very definition, we can see this is layered. Twitter is currently buzzing with talk about consititutional recognition as part of reconciliation. Does this really matter? Read the points above again if you are not sure. Yes, it matters.
From the Reconciliation Australia website:
Reconciliation is about building better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the benefit of all Australians. To create positive change we need more people talking about the issues and coming up with innovative ideas and actions that make a difference.
How do we manage with this concept as an on-ground reality in our industry?
When I talk to companies about working with Aboriginal people, or give presentations at conferences, I talk about transparency and trying to if not understand, then at least appreciate cultural perspectives. Recognizing the differences.
And it goes both ways. This to me is the core of reconciliation, being able to listen and appreciate, then understanding can follow.