Reconciliation: Is this our best path?

THE controversy about Fremantle Council wanting to financially support the Voice referendum made me think about how important reconciliation is, and if we could do it better. 

Reconciliation is such a big, important and emotive issue, that requires us to embrace it with love and empathy, with respect and tolerance. 

Are local councils and the state government doing it right, or could we do more things better?

Like many people I support the Voice, but do not support Fremantle council wanting to do the work of the federal government.

Does it have to be divisive? 

What Freo could do is asking councillors and precinct groups to hold information sessions, so that there is a real community voice and understanding.

There are so many, more significant, more permanent, and more substantial ways of supporting reconciliation, than virtue signalling and tokenism. 

Visible reminders of the depth of Indigenous culture, something we can all be proud of, such as the hugely significant artwork, proposed for Walyalup Koort by Sharon Egan and Simon Gilby. 

Imagine having 14 large rocks at our city square, depicting the 14 tribes from Geraldton to Esperance. 

How wonderful and iconic that will be!We have 50,000 years of Aboriginal culture, plus amazing achievements since Europeans arrived in our beautiful country to celebrate. 

There are so many positive stories to tell, without ignoring that we also have a very dark past. 

We should not be romanticising, or whitewashing parts of our past, but should concentrate on our future together, that has so many opportunities. 

There is so much hope, especially in Fremantle, where we have such a wonderful, open-minded and accepting community.


What would Australian sport, art, music, dance, literature, etc. be without the Indigenous contribution?

How wonderful to see the late Archie Roach, from being homeless to becoming the popular singer he was.

And there are many other success stories by our First Nations people.

How can we do reconciliation better? I would love to see more dual naming of streets, suburbs, bridges, buildings, parks and ovals, so what are the state and local governments doing about that?

I also hope that the new historic displays in the Roundhouse will finally become reality, since they would include the Aboriginal stories, that are currently missing, and the connection of WA oldest public building to the terrible Quod Aboriginal prison on Wadjemup/Rottnest Island.

Governments need to realise that reconciliation is about education, not about condescending pontification. 

We need to spread the love, and build on what we have in common. 

We can learn so much from all the different cultures, nationalities and races. We have so much knowledge to share. As an Aboriginal man once said to me in an outback hotel: “Isn’t is amazing, bro, that we both got red blood and brown shit.” 

And we all got a beating heart full of passion and compassion as well. 

Let’s learn to share, to embrace difference, letting go off the fear of the unknown, and connect with those we do not know much about. 

Having a chat, a yarn, a respectful discussion, will make us help lose some of our ignorance about others. 

Better and more historic signs all around Fremantle, Melville, Cockburn, etc would support that. Information is knowledge.

That is my statement from the heart.

Roel Loopers

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