What’s National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week all about?

On May 26 1997 the “Bringing them Home” report – detailing the findings of a national inquiry into the forced removal of Indigenous children – was tabled in Federal Parliament. May 26 has been commemorated as National Sorry Day since that year.

On May 27 1967 Australians voted “yes” in a referendum to grant Indigenous Australians the right to be included in the Census, and for the Commonwealth government to legislate in Indigenous affairs. 

On June 3 1992 Meriam man Eddie Mabo won the Mabo v. Queensland (No. 2) case in the High Court, which overturned the legal fiction of “terra nullius” and recognised that native title exists in Australia.

These three events are not only a reminder of the devastating impacts of European invasion and colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but also of the power of ordinary people to come together to make society more just and equitable.

National Reconciliation Week

How could National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week be a springboard for you to share stories with children of the power of activism to challenge injustice?

What books, artworks, or provocations could support children to engage with white Australia’s colonial history, while also motivating them to feel empowered and equipped to create a better world?

How do you and the children in your setting belong, be and become with Country every day of the year?

Reflective questions

Aunty Dr Sue Atkinson reminds us: “Indigeneity in early childhood spaces in Australia is underpinned by colonial representations of Indigeneity as ‘traditional’ and distant” (2020b, p.41). How can you ensure the representations of Indigeneity in your practice are decolonising, complex, and reflect the Indigeneity of families in your setting and community?

How do you build reciprocal relationships with Indigenous families in your setting on their terms? (Scarlet, 2020a)

What are your understandings about the ongoing impact of colonisation to Indigenous people, and how can you use these understandings to support Indigenous children’s and families’ participation in the setting? (Scarlet, 2020a)

Do you have Indigenous representations on the staff and management boards of the setting? Why? Why not? (Scarlet, 2020a)


Atkinson, S. (2020). The challenges and successes of Indigenous parents as decolonisers of ‘mainstream’ early childhood spaces in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. In R. R. Scarlet (Ed.), The anti-bias approach in early childhood (4th ed., pp. 41-52). Multiverse Publishing. https://multiverse.com.au/product/the-anti-bias-approach-in-early-childhood-4th-edition/

Scarlet, R. R. (2020a). Anti-bias: a project approach. Multiverse Publishing. https://learning.theinclusionroom.com.au/courses/anti-bias-a-project-approach

Scarlet, R. R. (Ed.). (2020b). The anti-bias approach in early childhood (4th ed.). Multiverse Publishing. https://multiverse.com.au/product/the-anti-bias-approach-in-early-childhood-4th-edition/

Useful resources

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