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At the heart of National Reconciliation Week is people coming together, to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements, in the spirit of our march towards true reconciliation.
While we weren’t able to gather in person this year, we were delighted to host a series of virtual Yarning Circles, to continue the conversation about how we can all contribute to creating a stronger nation for all.
A yarning circle is a harmonious, creative and collaborative way of communicating that encourages responsible, respectful and honest interactions between participants.
Our people were joined by a number of Indigenous leaders including elders, academics and business owners as well as representatives of our clients for three discussions under the themes of reconciliation stories, closing the gap and supporting our future generations.
One of the key learnings from the circles was the concept of the ‘third space’ which came up through our first circle. To understand the concept of the third space, our people were asked to think of two circles. The first circle representing Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing and the second circle representing Western ways. The overlap of these circles creates a third space or middle ground in which we can seek to achieve a better future. We can do this by sharing stories, seeking understanding and by treating each other with dignity and respect.
Watch the video here for an explanation.
Sharing his perspective on participating in one of the virtual circles, Vic Hensley, Ventia Executive Manager, Major Transport Bids, said that he found it humbling and rewarding.
“I had the opportunity to share my personal experiences as a New Zealand Maori, the journey I, and others have had,” he said.
“I was particularly moved by the stories told around the importance of identity with your own culture, and the value that language plays in that journey.
We were lucky to also hear from some of our clients during the event, including Anawan woman and the Manager for Diversity and Inclusion for Sydney Metro, Kristy Walsh who spoke about the importance of knowledge sharing and understanding.
“As a collective when we share experience, knowledge and perspective we’re not on that journey by ourselves, we are on that journey as a collective towards a common goal.”
One of the highlights of the circles was the inclusion of student representatives from the Murrumba State Secondary College, who shared their perspective as future leaders in a passionate and profound way.
Watch our videos below to get a highlight of some of the key topics raised in our Virtual Yarning circles.
To find out more about our commitment to making a meaningful contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities you can read our Reconciliation Action Plan here.