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    Ron Marks.

Elder: Reconciliation must come from the heart

By Abby Walter

Wergaia elder Uncle Ron Marks is hoping Reconciliation Week events will continue to grow in coming years to showcase more of the Australian culture.

“This week is about showcasing all cultures and highlighting our stories,” he said.

“Goolum Goolum and Horsham Rural City Council are running some events, but we have got to do more and expand.

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“We have to make our events grow, not to be tokenistic, but for it to come from the heart and to include all stakeholders in the community.

“We need to set up a committee to see that, every year, on every day of Reconciliation Week, we are showcasing something.”

Uncle Ron is an educator who engages with a variety of audiences to teach indigenous culture.

“I’ve been doing this since the 1970s, teaching anyone who wants to be taught,” he said.

“I have been getting stuck into the bush-kinder program and it’s fantastic to work with the littlies.

“It’s very important to be teaching them.

“For example, at Edenhope kinder, I gave them some native seeds for their insect garden so they’re getting switched on about the world and seeing our ecosystem corrected.”

Uncle Ron said he was also a community developer who worked to get the community involved in local events.

“I am also involved with Art is... and Nati Frinj and organising our people to be a part of that,” he said.

“I work with Landcare groups and farmers to make sure they are sensitive to the endangered species of plants and animals.”

The theme of National Reconciliation Week in 2022 is Be Brave. Make Change.

Uncle Ron said the theme was a challenge to all Australians to be brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation to make change for the benefit of all Australians.

Friday to June 3 is a time for all Australians to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements.

Uncle Ron said events in the Wimmera, including those in Horsham and West Wimmera, were part of the change in the future.

“By slowly starting to have events like that, where people come together and celebrate, is a change and I am looking forward to it,” he said.

“The ‘Be Brave’ message means to stand tall and be proud no matter what your colour, race or creed.

“Humans don’t like difference, so we have to break that barrier down. The idea is that we all have something to give to the community, no matter what.

“I don’t like the word equality because it conveys a competition. We are all human beings and we have to showcase that and promote our fantastic people.

“Hopefully we can change for the better and realise that the ones who benefit from these events are the children.

“When they become young adults, they would have seen and been to events that they will want to keep going and keep that flame alive.”

The entire May 25, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire May 25, 2022 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!