Aboriginal timeline: Recognition

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2014

  1. Inaugural National Indigenous Human Rights Awards at the NSW state parliament. Among the categories are the Dr M Yunupingu Human Rights Achievement Award (awarded to Arrernte elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks), the Edward ‘Koiki’ Mabo Social Justice Award (awarded posthumously to Arthur and Leila Murray) and the Anthony Mundine Courage Award (awarded to Gamilaroy woman Barbara McGrady).

    There is no greater rights struggle on this continent than that of the Aboriginal struggle.

    — Shaoquett Moselmane, NSW parliamentarian who conceived of the awards

2015

  1. Nyoongar elder Robert Isaacs is named Western Australian of the Year for helping set up Australia’s first Aboriginal school, Clontarf Aboriginal College, improving the justice system and helping to assist Aboriginal people achieve home ownership and housing security.

  2. On the 23rd anniversary of the landmark Mabo decision, Sydney Observatory honours Eddie Koiki Mabo’s legacy by naming a star after him (SSSC star Koiki, constellation: Crux).

  3. The winners of the 2nd National Indigenous Human Rights Awards are Tauto Sansbury (Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights), aunty Jenny Munro (Eddie Mabo Award for Social Justice) and Adam Goodes (Anthony Mundine Award for Courage).

2016

  1. The Tasmanian government passes into law an amended preamble to the Tasmanian Constitution Act to formally recognise Aboriginal people “as Tasmania’s First People and the traditional and original owners of Tasmanian lands and waters”. Tasmania was the last state that had to amend its constitution in that way.

2017

  1. More than 250 Aboriginal leaders from across the country gather at Uluru at the Referendum Council’s National Convention to identify amendments required for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people. But the government rejects a proposal for a constitutionally enshrined voice to Parliament.

  2. Since 1997 Australia Post celebrates living Australians who have positively shaped Australian society with its Australian Legends Award. In 2017 it honours three Aboriginal leaders: Tom Calma, Lowitja O’Donoghue and Galarrwuy Yunupingu for their tireless and lifelong efforts to improve social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Together, their work has spanned the areas of land rights, economics, self-determination, health, welfare, education and reconciliation.

    Since its inception, Australia Post announced the Australian Legends Award on Australia Day. Out of respect for those who associate 26 January with invasion and the colonisation of Aboriginal people, it scheduled this year's announcement to May, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

    Stamps showing the portraits of Tom Calma, Lowitja O’Donoghue and Galarrwuy Yunupingu.
    Portraits of Aboriginal Elders Tom Calma, Lowitja O’Donoghue and Galarrwuy Yunupingu.
  3. City of Yarra councillors in Melbourne vote unanimously to no longer refer to 26 January as Australia Day in all official documents and not hold citizenship ceremonies on that day to support the campaign to change Australia Day. Neighbouring Darebin council follows on 21 August.

  4. The International Astronomical Union formally approves four Aboriginal names for stars. Three names come from the Wardaman language of northern Australia: Larawag is now used for the star previously known as Epsilon Scorpii, Ginan replaces Epsilon Crucis (the smallest of the five stars that make up the Southern Cross), and Wurren is used for Zeta Phoenicis. The Boorong people of the Wergaia language group in northwestern Victoria contribute Unurgunite (an ancestral figure who fights the Moon) for the star Sigma Canis Majoris.

2018

  1. Vonda Malone is named the inaugural McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year by a judging panel including former prime ministers. They recognise Malone, who became the first female mayor of the Torres Shire Council in 2016, for her work in finding community-led solutions for critical issues in the Torres Strait Islands, such as waste management, housing shortages and healthcare.

  2. Wiradjuri woman Dhani Gilbert wins the 2018 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Award for her community work, academic pursuits and advocacy for Aboriginal people.

  3. The 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church of Australia endorses the observance of a "Day of Mourning" on the Sunday before Australia Day, at the request of members of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). The request came as an alternative to changing the date for Australia Day. Every year, Uniting Church congregations nationwide will hold worship services that reflect on the effect of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples.

  4. The NSW government purchases 25 Watson Street in Putney (about 14 kms west of Sydney's CBD on the Parramatta River) to ensure the protection and preservation of the believed resting place of early intermediary Woollarawarre Bennelong.

  5. The New South Wales government buys 25 Watson Street in Putney, in Sydney’s north-west, from a developer for $2.9m. The property sits on the last resting place of 18th century Aboriginal interpreter Woollarawarre Bennelong. The government plans to turn it into a public memorial site.

2019

  1. Queensland writer and Kokomini man, Graham Akhurst, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian recipient of the two-year Fulbright W.G. Walker scholarship. It is awarded annually to the highest-ranked postgraduate applicant.

  2. The Uniting Church of Australia holds the first "Day of Mourning" (each Sunday before Australia Day). Congregations nationwide should "acknowledge the dispossession, violence and murder of First Peoples, lament the fact that as a Church and as Second Peoples we were and remain complicit", reflect on the effect of invasion and colonisation and honour Australia’s First Peoples.

  3. 50c coin showing 14 different words for 'money' separated with different patterns.
    The Royal Australian Mint issues a 50 cents coin to commemorate the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

    The Royal Australian Mint issues a new 50 cents coin that shows the word "money" in 14 Aboriginal languages, a tribute to the International Year of Indigenous Languages. As there hasn't been a traditional Aboriginal word for "money", new words were used often related the look and feel of coins: piece, pebble, stone, rock, grey.

  4. The International Council on Monuments and Sites, which works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world, officially recommends world heritage status for the Budj Bim cultural landscape, a 6,600-year-old, highly sophisticated aquaculture system developed by the Gunditjmara people in south-west Victoria. If successful, it would become the first Australian site listed exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural value.

  5. After a 17-year campaign, the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape near Portland, a 6,600-year-old Aboriginal aquaculture site in south-west Victoria, is added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Older than the pyramids, the site proves that Aboriginal people built channels and pools to harvest eels, and also permanent stone houses. The site is considered one of the largest and oldest aquaculture sites in the world and became the first Australian World Heritage site to be nominated exclusively for Aboriginal cultural values.

  6. Dujuan, a 12-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa boy from central Australia, speaks at the UN Human Rights Council demanding the Australian government to stop sending 10-year-old children to to prison and support Aboriginal-led education models. All Australian states and territories allow 10-year-old children to be arrested, charged and sent to prison. Raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 would bring Australian standards into line with international law. 

References

View article sources (0)

[10501] 'Finally! National Indigenous Human Rights Awards', The Stringer 24/5/2014
[103865] 'The Australia Post Legends 2017: Indigenous leaders', Australia Post 29/5/2017
[16907] Reconciliation News, Issue 40, October 2018
[17411] 'Uniting Churches to observe Day of Mourning', Insights magazine of the Uniting Church, 9/1/2019
[72280] 'Aboriginal child to address UN Human Rights Council and urge Australia to stop sending 10 year olds to prison', Human Rights Law Centre 9/9/2019

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Aboriginal timeline: Recognition, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/recognition?page=2>, retrieved 6 December 2020

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