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2017

  1. After more than 40 years away from country, the remains of Mungo Man (along with those of around 100 other Aboriginal people) return home to his ancestral homelands of the Mutti Mutti, Ngiyampaa and Paakantji peoples. [1]

  2. Greens’ Lidia Thorpe defeats Labor’s Clare Burns in a seat the party had held for 90 years to become the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Victorian parliament.

  3. Australian Labor Party member Cynthia Lui becomes the first Torres Strait Islander elected to office during the Queensland state election by winning the Cook electorate.

  4. A crew of 16 Aboriginal people aboard the Southern Excellence II is the first Aboriginal team to compete in an official yacht race, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Because they missed the entry deadline they are not part of the official race.

2018

  1. For the first time, Year 11 HSC students can learn about pre-1788 Aboriginal history in the same way they are taught ancient Greek and Roman history, with a new ‘Ancient Australia’ unit within the Ancient History Stage 6 syllabus. Students investigate ancient artefacts and sites in their local area.

  2. Wiradjuri woman and tennis legend Evonne Goolagong-Cawley is made a companion of the Order of Australia, the nation’s highest honour. She is recognised for her services to the game as a player and ambassador, and her work as a role model and advocate for young Aboriginal Australians. She was also named Australian of the year in 1971 and made an officer of the Order of Australia in 1983.

  3. Ganalbingi man and artist Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr, from the remote community of Gapuwiyak in the Northern Territory, wins the inaugural Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award.

  4. The newly elected Liberal government under Steven Marshall in South Australia stops the state’s treaty process. The SA treaty process had advanced to the signatory stage and had funding allocated to it by the previous Labor government.

  5. 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]

  6. During a visit of His Royal Highness Prince Charles a delegation of Yolŋu clan leaders lead by politician Yingiya Mark Guyula present a ‘Letter Stick’ expressing their fight for sovereignty and asking for support. It read:

    "This here is Yolngu Land, we are sovereign people and we live by Yolngu law. We have many difficulties with the Australian Governments because they do not recognise our sovereignty. We need to correct this situation, for the sake of our children and their children, for our cultural survival, – for our ancestors. We are the oldest living culture in the world. I request, on behalf of the people standing before you, and the Yolngu nations that you intervene on our behalf and take a strong position to acknowledge our sovereignty and promote a pathway to Treaty. We are the only indigenous people of a Commonwealth country that does not have the respect or dignity of a Treaty with our people. Will you advocate on our behalf for our justice? Please accept this letter stick and create a diplomatic passage for this letter stick from your highly respected position to the Prime Minister of Australia, in order to help our sovereign nations reach Treaty.” [3]

  7. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visits Nhulunbuy, in north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, for his first visit to the remote region. He meets with members of the Yolngu Nations Assembly and local politician Yingiya Mark Guyula who present His Royal Highness with a ‘Letter Stick’ that expressed their sovereignty and requested the Price “to acknowledge our sovereignty and promote a pathway to Treaty”. [5]

  8. 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.

  9. Gurrumul’s final album Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) becomes the first number one Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) album in an Aboriginal language, only a week after its release on 13 April. In August at the 2018 National Indigenous Music Awards it wins Album of the Year, Song of the Year for the title track, and Gurrumul is posthumously named Artist of the Year.

  10. Cathy Freeman receives the Order of Merit award, the Australian Olympic Committee's highest honour.

  11. The Australian Capital Territory becomes the first state or territory to recognise reconciliation with a public holiday by changing its Family & Community Day to become a Reconciliation Day public holiday. It will now be the first Monday on or after 27 May.

  12. The lower house of the Victorian government passes the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 to create the framework for the treaty process. It is the first time legislation committing to treaty negotiations has ever been considered by an Australian parliament. [4] The framework will establish an Aboriginal representative body which in turn will help establish the process for the negotiation of a treaty, or treaties, between Aboriginal people and the state of Victoria.

  13. The Northern Territory government signs a memorandum of understanding (a pledge to work towards a treaty) with all four Aboriginal Land Councils in the Northern Territory, pledging to work towards a treaty. Chief Minister Michael Gunner says his government is ready to negotiate a "Northern Territory Treaty" without Commonwealth involvement. [5] After the appointment of a treaty commissioner, consultations determine the level of interest in a treaty amongst Aboriginal Territorians. This is the first time the NT government and land councils have agreed to work together in this way, and the first time in decades that the four big land councils – the Northern, Central, Anindilyakwa and Tiwi – have joined together in consensus. [6]

    At the pace communities are comfortable, the government is ceding decision-making power back to where it belongs – the communities. — Michael Gunner, chief minister of the territory [7]

  14. The Northern Territory government and all four of the NT’s Aboriginal land councils sign a historic agreement to begin treaty talks. The Barunga agreement commits the all parties to a 3-year process to consult all Territorians to “develop a process to negotiate a Northern Territory treaty” with the aim “to achieve real change and substantive, long-term benefits for Aboriginal people”. [8]

  15. The Victorian parliament passes the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018, Australia’s first ever treaty law. It outlines future elements to support treaty negotiations (e.g. a treaty authority and negotiation framework), a mechanism to recognise a representative body, guiding principles for the treaty process and reporting obligations.

  16. 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.

References

View article sources (8)

[1] 'Mungo Man finally home with his ancestors', NITV 19/11/2017
[2] Reconciliation News, Issue 40, October 2018
[3] 'Yolŋu Leader Gives Prince Charles A Treaty Letter Stick… And A Diplomatic ‘Middle Finger’', New Matilda 9/4/2018
[4] 'Victorian lower house passes treaty legislation after Greens accept Labor deal', The Guardian 7/6/2018
[5] 'Aboriginal treaty with Northern Territory one step closer with historic signing', ABC News 7/6/2018
[6] 'NT signs historic Barunga agreement to begin Indigenous treaty talks', The Guardian 8/6/2018
[7] 'Historic Northern Territory treaty agreement means 'the old way is finished'', The Guardian 9/6/2018
[8] 'NT signs historic Barunga agreement to begin Indigenous treaty talks', The Guardian 8/6/2018

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=45>, retrieved 31 March 2020

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