Reconciliation. What does that word mean to you?
Because for plenty of Indigenous Australians it means more than just a word, it also means taking action.
It’s an opportunity to bridge the gap on years of cultural injustice and hardships, whilst also creating an opening to educate non-Indigenous Australians, and assist them in taking action on the subject matter.
For West Coast’s Indigenous players, such as Brendon Ah Chee, it’s also a chance to celebrate their culture, and open conversation with the rest of the team and club as a whole.
“I think the rest of the boys at the club are really passionate and interested about Aboriginal culture,” Ah Chee said.
“I think the theme this week is all about action, more than words, so I think Australia today still has a long way to go in closing the gap.
“Personally, for Aboriginal people it’s a massive week, but I think it should be a massive week for all of Australia, taking that step forward together.
“It’s important on both sides especially education for Aboriginal people to know who they are and where they came from so their story can continue, but education for non-Indigenous people as well to learn about what’s happened in the past and how we can walk forward together in the future.
“There’s no point just talking about these things and doing nothing about it, it takes action and I think about that point in time where as a society in Australia we can do that sort of thing, and put these things into place to walk forward together.”
Artist Darryl Bellotti has also reflected these key messages, through the design of the Eagles’ 2021 Indigenous Guernsey.
Closing the gap starts with you, and in a further initiative to bolster this movement, Belotti will chat to players and coaches to further educate them on Indigenous history throughout the Western Australian area.
“It’s going to be impossible for everything to learn everything, so what you have to do it give everyone little bits and pieces so they can acquire the education and knowledge around that to develop respect, and with that comes the understanding and generosity in terms of sharing, giving, willing to learn,” Bellotti said.
“There’s respect for your history and your culture and your past, good or bad, and with Reconciliation Week and reconciliation in general, these things happened, none of us can change that.
“But we have a responsibility to ourselves today and to each other to nurture that relationship and look at ways in which we can adapt and learn and grow for our children and so on and so forth for generations to come.”