Reconciliation Week: a time to reflect, pay respects, and act
27 May – 3 June
National Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect on the hard-fought advocacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since the beginning of first contact/invasion. It is a time to pay respects and thanks to the Ancestors, Aunties and Uncles who came before us for what they have been through, and the sacrifices made to have the rights and progress we have today.
However, it is also a time to consider how far we still have to go. The responsibility to continue the fight for equity, rights and recognition is ongoing and we are collectively responsible for the future generations. So please join us in reflection, respects and action.
Commemorate Mabo Day
Saturday 3 June
Mabo Day is held on 3 June each year in commemoration of Mabo and Ors v Queensland (No. 2) 1992.
Eddie Koiki Mabo, a Mer Island man from Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait), 3 other Meriam men (Reverend David Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice) and one Meriam women (Celuia Mapo Sale) fought against the doctrine of terra nullius, asserting their rights as Traditional Owners of Mer Island.
On 3 June 1992, 6 of the 7 Justices of the High Court of Australia upheld this claim and ruled that the lands of this continent were not terra nullius when European invasion occurred, and that the Meriam People were ‘entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of (most of) the lands of the Murray Islands’. This led to a new legal doctrine of Native Title. Sadly, Eddie Koiki Mabo died just a few months before this judgement was handed down.
On Mabo Day, we reflect on the strength and determination of Eddie Koiki Mabo, his family, and the brave men and women that fought alongside him to have their relationship to Country legally recognised.