GRAMCO SUPPORT ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
Australia has never been good at listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Even when truths have already been told in processes like the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody or the Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, time and again governments have ignored recommendations designed to address the impacts of Australia’s settler-colonial past and present.
State refusals to respond to truth have led to renewed calls for processes that will detail the impacts of colonisation in the everyday lives of Indigenous people. These calls were an important part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which sought “the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”, complimented by “a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.
- A Voice to the Parliament enshrined in the constitution to enable,
- A legislated advisory body which will allow First Nations people to be involved in decisions which effect their social, spiritual, and economic wellbeing.
- The development of legislation to enable a body, or Makaratta, to be established to provide oversight, and supervision of, a process of agreement-making and truth-telling, or Treaty, between Colonial and First Nations Australians, and
- To further enable a Truth telling process to recognise and record past injustices suffered by Indigenous people.
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
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