My name is Esmai Manahan, General Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, service development, and a proud Yorta Yorta woman. At MacKillop, we have held 11 culture understanding and reconciliation forums across the country attended by elders, community members, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations, mainstream organizations and MacKillop staff. At each of these forums we have asked the attendees to describe what true reconciliation looks like and discussed their expectations of working with MacKillop in a respectful and culturally appropriate way.
This 20-cent piece is a pebble. My job is to drop the pebble in the pond and create a ripple. The ripple is not determined by me, it's determined by you and your interaction with the Aboriginal. And we have to keep on dropping pebbles . We need your help. we need reps so that we know we're not in the canoe by ourselves, paddling against the current.
I suppose today this statement was we need you and we need you to walk alongside us. And I thought well yes actually I can do that. I've been given permission to do that. So that welcome of come and walk alongside us was very powerful.
We worked across five communities over a week and in each of those communities we've had a significant local engagement. Really that's been driven by our wonderful staff who have built up great networks and understandings of a local community and they've brought people in for us toto meet with, to listen to, to build relationships that really make sure that our work with children and families improves and really makes a difference.
It's the understanding. The more people understand the culture, doesn't matter who you are, the better the country will be. It comes back the knowledge and sharing it.
If there's one thing that I'd like to see MacKillop take away from this, is to take away some of the information that were giving in, and to give 100% so that the community will talk and say that MacKillop was very different from other organizations that they really know what they're talking about and they really Native American people now
Our consultation here today in Port Hedland has been a profoundly moving experience. We've heard about the deep sorrow that many carers have experienced because of the Stolen Generation, because of being misunderstood, and then because of not being listened to. So, I'm incredibly committed, going forward, that we remain true to our values, that we are compassionate that we are creative, that we walk that respect, and we do that in ways that genuinely listens to what carers really need.
These forums have underpinned the practical actions we commit to in this Reconciliation Action Plan, the RAP.