Indigenous Law Bulletin
This collection of books is well presented, very easy to read, and contains an invaluable record of the proceedings of the Australian Reconciliation Convention held in Melbourne in May 1997. In early 1997, more than 105 meetings were held within indigenous communities in the lead up to the convention. The results of these meetings were provided to Convention participants for discussion. The findings of a questionnaire to which more than 4,000 people responded prior to the Convention are analysed in the relevant books.
Book 1, the Overview, contains a description of the opening and closing ceremonies, the text of some speeches and comments made at the plenary and seminar sessions and lists of winners of the Australian Reconciliation Awards presented at a dinner during the Convention.
Books 2, 3 and 4 follow more or less the same format as Book 1, detailing the speeches, proposals, discussions and outcomes of the key themes in greater detail-too many and varied to do justice to in this Snippet. Book 2 contains the kit used for these meetings and provides broad statistics of the nationwide meeting program, including comments on attitudes which stand in the way of reconciliation. Book 3 contains a discussion on indigenous self-determination supported by respected international indigenous speakers-Chief Ted Moses, Professor James Anaya and Mililani Bask. Issues surrounding the `Stolen Generations' are also covered in Book 3. Book 4 reveals that around 57% of those surveyed agreed strongly that we should prepare a national document of reconciliation, that 63% would like to see a new preamble to the Constitution which recognises the prior occupation of the land by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and that 54% want an Australian Bill of Rights which protects the rights of all Australians. Book 5 describes sixty of the projects which were nominated for the Reconciliation Awards and provides a valuable guide to setting up Reconciliation activity in the community. The judging process, selection criteria and categories of Awards are also described in Book 5.
It's great timing this book, when there is such a groundswell of non-indigenous Australians taking a stand for indigenous peoples. Chapter by chapter, this book reveals some of the individuals who listened to their consciences throughout 19th and early 20th century Australia, and held out against the general flow of colonisation. Very interesting, inspiring reading.