SAHMRI is deeply committed to Reconciliation

SAHMRI acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first peoples of Australia and the longest continuous living culture in the world. We recognise the injustices of the past and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not experience the same equality of rights and life expectancy as other Australians. We respect the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the face of adversity.

On our pathway to Reconciliation, our research is directed by the historic and contemporary knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We are committed to working in equal partnership with Aboriginal organisations, communities and individuals, building trust and respect, deepening our understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

SAHMRI creates opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health and medical research. We are building a culturally responsive workforce across SAHMRI and include ways of working which unite the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of all people.

Together we are improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within South Australia and nationally. We use the learnings from research focussed on Aboriginal populations to improve the health of all Australians.

SAHMRI uses the principles of the South Australian Aboriginal Health Research Accord as a foundation for Reconciliation in everything we do and monitors the progress and impact of our plan to revise our strategies accordingly.

View the Accord here

SAHMRI is committed to achieving a combined vision of a reconciled Australia through working with SAHMRI partners. Our organisation supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and changing the date of 'Australia Day' to one that is more inclusive for all.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

On the 13 February 2018, the 10th Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generation and their Descendants, SAHMRI launched our inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

We are now in the process of seeking endorsement for our Stretch RAP, which will have a specific focus on Reconciliation leadership and working with community, using our research to make health services more culturally suitable and therefore effective.

What is a RAP and why is it important to SAHMRI?

RAPs are practical plans of action to help advance Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians in workplaces and beyond. They help build understanding, promote meaningful engagement, increase equality, create sustainable employment opportunities and other positive outcomes in these environments.

Since its inception, one of SAHMRI’s priorities has been to incorporate Aboriginal health research across all of its research and as a key platform of SAHMRI business – Aboriginal health is something that is at the heart of everything SAHMRI does.

As a relatively new and developing health and medical research institute, SAHMRI has the opportunity to develop a platform for Reconciliation that can have a far-reaching impact on staff, research projects and, in turn, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and broader community.

An effective RAP will influence the work of the institute, as well as the interactions and potential outcomes of key research partners both here in South Australia and across Australia.

Karrawirra Pari
Karrawirra Pari - Allan Sumner

SAHMRI's RAP Artwork

Our RAP artwork Karrawirra Pari extends from our Innovate RAP journey. Created by Allan Sumner, community artist of Ngarrindjeri,Yankunytjatjara and Kaurna descent, in collaboration with SAHMRI to reflect the commitment to Reconciliation and to building strong partnerships through opportunities and trusted relationships. The artwork is reflective of the vibrant landscape along the River Torrens, a special place for Kaurna people and is where the SAHMRI building is located.

Our Indigenous collective resonate strongly with the story of the artwork, its time of development and feel it is well established as part of our identity in this space within SAHMRI and the wider community.

Want to know more?

Download SAHMRI's Reconciliation Action Plan

Click here

Indigenous Voice to Parliament

SAHMRI’s Executive and Indigenous Collective believe that providing for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament within Australia’s Constitution, as called for by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, is an essential step towards achieving Reconciliation, and is strongly aligned with our institute's vision:

  • To Improve health equity in Australia and Beyond
  • Be translational to deliver impact
  • Deliver the right interventions, to the right people, at the right time in their lives to optimise health

View our statement on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament


Click here to learn more about the proposal for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament

SAHMRI's RAP Project Officer

Meet our RAP Project Officer – Clyde Rigney

Clyde's role is to coordinate SAHMRI's Reconciliation Action Plan, steering the SAHMRI Community along its Reconciliation journey through education, support and guidance.

Clyde is a Ngarrindjeri man from the Lower Murray River, Lower Lakes and Coorong of South Australia who has more than 20 years’ experience in Aboriginal community development who brings a combination of leadership, governance experience and cultural knowledge to SAHMRI.

In addition to his RAP role, Clyde is a member of SAHMRI's Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Equity Theme supporting engagement and capacity building.

SAHMRI is at a significant stage of its RAP journey, currently developing its second - Stretch - RAP, which will focus on becoming a visible leader in Reconciliation activities across our sector and the Adelaide BioMed City precinct.

SAHMRI's RAP Champion

Hieu van Le

SAHMRI's Chair, the Hon. Hieu Van Le AC, is SAHMRI's designated RAP Champion.

A RAP Champion is someone who lives the values, and demonstrates the behaviours, that are detailed within our Reconciliation Action Plan; someone whose example can accelerate the bringing together of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians so we can all enjoy the benefits of being a truly unified nation.

Anyone can be RAP Champion - Chances are, you’re already acting like one.

The actions of a RAP Champion can be as simple as acknowledging country before a meeting or as overt as calling out racist behaviour. Reconciliation Australia has compiled these 20 Actions for Reconciliation that a RAP Champion might demonstrate.

Many of us are living as RAP Champions already through the work we do at SAHMRI. When your research addresses the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, you are embodying what the Reconciliation process aims to achieve.

If you would like to know more about how you can actively contribute to Reconciliation, please contact

SAHMRI's Indigenous Collective

The Collective is the mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students within SAHMRI to discuss cultural issues, research strategy, community engagement, leadership and workforce development in a culturally safe space.

Want to know more?

Visit SAHMRI's Indigenous Collective page

Click here

SAHMRI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Document

SAHMRI's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols are a resource providing advice and guidance for staff when conducting business. It is envisaged that these protocols will assist SAHMRI staff across the institute in addressing matters of cultural and relational significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The protocols address communication processes, relationships and activities to support the ‘right way’ of carrying out research and business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This set of protocols will assist SAHMRI in becoming a culturally competent and respectful working environment for Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff and students, guests and visitors to SAHMRI.

They are a collection of live protocols rather than static and this collection will grow over time.

Want to know more

View the SAHMRI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Document

Click here

Dates of historical and cultural significance

Survival Day (Australia Day)
26 January

January 26 is not a day of celebration for all Australians. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people it marks the beginning of the invasion and dispossession of their land and brings memories of violence, massacres and genocide. That is why the day is often called ‘Invasion Day’, ‘Day of Mourning’, ‘Survival Day’ or ‘Aboriginal Sovereignty Day’.

View SAHMRI's Change the Date statement

National Apology Day
13 February

The National Apology to the Stolen Generations came about as a recommendation from The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal Children from their Families. It highlighted the suffering of Indigenous families under the Commonwealth, state and territory Aboriginal protection and welfare laws and policies.

The National Inquiry then led to the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report which was tabled in Parliament on 26 May, 1997. It contained 54 Recommendations to redress the wrongs done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the race-based laws and policies of successive governments throughout Australia.

National Museum of Australia - National Apology
AIATSIS - National Apology
Bringing them Home Report (1997)

Letters Patent Day
19 February

The Letters Patent drafted by the Colonisation Commissioners for South Australia in 1836 was presented to King William IV to formally seek approval to establish the Province of South Australia. The Letters Patent defined the physical boundaries of the Province and recognised the rights of the ‘Aboriginal Natives’ and their descendants to occupy and enjoy the lands therein. These were the first ever Aboriginal rights granted in Australia’s colonial history.

The Letters Patent changes were brought into law in 1938, but as colonisation proceeded no regard was given to the stated rights of Aboriginal people to their land. Colonists bought, leased and were granted lands, effectively dispossessing the original inhabitants of their land, something that continues today.

On Proclamation Day in 2006, the then SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Jay Weatherill, acknowledged publicly that the failure of the state to have met the Letters’ promise 170 years later has “been the cause of much loss and suffering for Aboriginal people”.


Transcript of the Letters Patent
The Kings Seal
History Trust of SA The Letters Patent
ABC Radio National The Letters Patent

National Close the Gap Day
Third Thursday of March

National Close the Gap Day raises awareness and promotes the campaign to close the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. The main goal is to close the gap in health and life expectancy outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.

The Close the Gap Campaign, launched in 2006, is an independent coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and mainstream peak health and advocacy organisations, advocating for health equality by 2030. The Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy, launched in 2008, refers to a series of government policies and programs, including specific health targets, which are aimed at reducing disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across six key areas, including health, education, employment and early childhood.

Close the Gap Day
Australian Human Rights Commission
Oxfam Australia

National Sorry Day
26 May

National Sorry Day marks the anniversary of the tabling in Federal Parliament of the Bringing them Home Report following the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.

Reconciliation Australia
Australian Human Rights Commission

National Reconciliation Week
27 May - 3 June

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving Reconciliation in Australia.

Reconciliation Australia

Mabo Day
3 June

On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in the case known as Mabo v Queensland (No. 2), recognising traditional land rights (Native Title) on Mer (Murray Island). The case was led by Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo. The decision recognised that Indigenous people in Australia had rights to land prior to the arrival of British settlers. The Court held that these rights, where they exist today, will have the protection of the Australian law until those rights are legally extinguished.

AIATSIS - Mabo Case
The Importance of Mabo Day - PDF

NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week
Second Sunday in July to the following Sunday

NAIDOC Week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is celebrated each year under a different theme.

NAIDOC History
Reconciliation Australia - Fast Facts

International Day of the World's Indigenous People
9 August

By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples shall be observed on 9 August every year. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

United Nations

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about Reconciliation at SAHMRI please get in touch