Lesson 4: Student Response

Student Response (Word document)

What can ordinary Australians do for reconciliation? How valuable is this contribution?

Response 1

It is not what they can do, it's how they can do it. It can be done by bringing races together, by saying sorry and getting along. Unlike America we do not have big groups saying go back to your own country, but we do have people who don't think Aboriginal people belong. Is it the colour of our skin or maybe how some of us live? I, Damien Ronning, have been a victim of racism by a number of people. I have been questioned about my Aboriginality because of the colour of my skin. During my time at school people have made derogatory statements towards me. Although this has happened toward me, I have achieved things I thought I couldn't do such as being able to dance in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games and becoming the first Aboriginal member of the Student Representative Council at my school.

Rooms like the Reconciliation Room help educate people about Aboriginal culture. This helps them to understand and will help reconciliation. The value of the contribution of ordinary Australians is in the movement closer to saying sorry for the past and in looking to the future.

Damien Ronning Top