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In this 2021 Nulungu Reconciliation lecture, Dr Robert Isaacs AM OAM will explore the meaning of reconciliation and the lessons of his personal journey in two worlds. As part of the Stolen Generation, and born at the dawn of the formal Aboriginal Rights Movement, this lecture outlines the changing social attitudes through the eyes of the lived experience and the evolving national policy framework that has sought to manage, then heal, the wounds that divided a nation. Aspirations of self-determination, assimilation and reconciliation are investigated to unpack the intent versus the outcome, and why the deep challenges not only still exist, but in some locations the divide is growing. The Kimberley is an Aboriginal rights location of global relevance with Noonkanbah at the beating heart. The Kimberley now has 93 percent of the land determined through Native Title yet the Kimberley is home to extreme disadvantage, abuse and hopelessness. Our government agencies are working “nine-to-five” but our youth, by their own declaration, are committing suicide out of official government hours. The theme of the Kimberley underpins this lecture. This is the journey of a man that was of two worlds but now walks with the story of five - the child of the Bibilmum Noongar language group and the boy that was stolen. The man that became a policy leader and the father of a Yawuru-Bibilmum-Noongar family and the proud great-grandson that finally saw the recognition of the courageous act of saving fifty shipwrecked survivors in 1876.
Isaacs, R. (2021). A lifelong journey in Aboriginal affairs and community: Nulungu reconciliation lecture (Nulungu Insights 6). Nulungu Research Institute. https://doi.org/10.32613/ni/2021.6