ABOUT 150 people celebrated the start of National Reconciliation Week at the Bendigo Town Hall on Tuesday.
The week marks two historical anniversaries - the 1967 referendum which saw indigenous people included in the Australian Constitution and the High Court Mabo decision which recognised native title.
City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Fyffe said the annual event was a chance to celebrate indigenous people and the contributions they made to the community.
"It gives us an opportunity to see where our strengths are and build on them so we can then go forward and deal with other issues reconciliation throws up," he said.
"(This will help us) come to a full understanding of what reconciliation will look like and how we can implement it."
Cr Fyffe said Australia had come a long way since the 1960s but needed to continue to move forward.
"I think we really do treat each other as equals and acknowledge the close connections to country that indigenous people have," he said.
"(Indigenous people) have skills that we can use and they can use to advance Australia."
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chair Graham Atkinson said the week was an important occasion for all Australian people.
He said community leaders and policy makers needed to work together to create a shift in people's attitudes.
"Reconciliation events and activities are a way to change people's attitudes in a more positive way," he said.
"I am optimistic we will see changes.
"The moment needs to be maintained."
Visit www.reconciliation.org.au for more information.