Pilger's 'Utopia' documentary screened

SORRY Day and Reconciliation Week will be celebrated in the Manning with the screening of the film John Pilger's documentary "Utopia" on Friday, May 30.

The screening at the Manning Uniting Church at 6pm will be followed by a discussion between Aboriginal elders and various community leaders, where many pertinent issues will be raised.

This event is sponsored by Greater Taree City Council.

The documentary focuses on Australia's first people and their treatment by authorities. Utopia is the name of a settlement 200km from Alice Springs, one of the poorest communities in Australia.

Sorry Day has been held every year on May 26, since 1998.

That date was the first anniversary of the handing down of the "Bringing Them Home Report."

This had been commissioned to investigate many aspects of the "stolen generations" and the ongoing impact on those who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, as well as on the aboriginal peoples in general.

The annual Sorry Days since then give Australians all the opportunity to really reflect on all of this and to ask ourselves, "What am I doing to facilitate the ongoing healing that still needs to occur?"

"How would we feel if we were treated as 'non-people', were brutalised, victimised, raped, killed, etc for hundreds of years?"

"How would we react if we were forbidden to utilise the lands we had lived on for many thousands of years, to speak our own languages, to follow our customs and practise our spirituality?"

Reconciliation Week reminds us that this was how many of our ancestors treated the first people of Australia.

It was first declared in 1996 by Reconciliation Australia to celebrate aboriginal history and culture.

It is also to encourage reconciliation events and discussion.

The dates are always the same, beginning on on May 27, which is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

The week ends on June 3, which marks the anniversary of the High Court of Australia Mabo decision.

Both these dates are very meaningful and significant to all the first people of Australia.

RSVP for the May 30 film night by notifying Tracey.Anderson@gtcc.nsw.gov.au or 6592 5275 by May 23. This is for catering purposes as a light supper will be provided.

A donation of $5 or a gold coin will go towards costs.

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