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RMIT VC MARTIN BEAN – 27 MAY 2020
[START OF TRANSCRIPT]
VISUAL: RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean addresses the camera.
MARTIN BEAN SPEAKS:
Womin Djeka everyone.
It’s Reconciliation Week and it’s also 20 years since the reconciliation walks took place across Australia, the most famous being the Sydney harbour bridge walk.
This year’s national theme is “in this together” which is certainly a resounding message for a time when we’ve felt more isolated than ever.
At RMIT our dhumbali to being in a relationship with our nation's first peoples is a continued learning and sharing experience.
However, this week I want to encourage us to take a moment to think about our personal journeys.
I’ve shared mine before. When I returned to Australia after many years living overseas, I became a visitor to the land I called home.
I had no knowledge of, or any genuine connection to Kulin, and its diverse language groups. But I wanted to learn, and I wanted to establish this connection for myself, my family and the community I was coming back to.
The journey so far has been extraordinary I’m incredibly grateful to the wonderful Aboriginal people, leaders and Traditional Owners, who I’ve been privileged to know and work alongside.
While I explored my own dhumbali, they taught me that finding my connection to place was my job, not theirs; and reconciliation is and will continue to be my journey to make every day.
Their friendship, their stories, their counsel, helped enormously, but I still had to do the work for myself. We are now shoulder to shoulder pushing towards a better future. A future that I can see in my children and my family.
So these days, after months of living close to weelam, day-in-day-out, my sense of place and connection to land has shifted again.
I’ve always loved my home and the local parks and paths and water, but these days it’s in my bones like never before.
With so much time lived locally, I’ve also reflected on the people who walked the land thousands of years before my own daily pounding of the pavement, the people who cared for it so instinctively and passionately.
So this year, as our lives begin to transition back to more familiar ways, I hope that you’ll also pause for a moment and consider your own reconciliation journey.
Because I’m sure, like me, you’ll find something new and different has emerged.
I’ve already seen quite a few changes in our community’s response to being on place, being on country. It’s reflected in genuine, heartfelt acknowledgements which is part of our journey into who we are and who we want to be.
Please take time to reflect this week, today and every day, that we are indeed “in this together”.
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