NAIDOC Week brings the Uluru Statement from the Heart back to the Australian consciousness, writes proud young Kaytetye woman, Rona. This is Rona's story of Voice.
For too many years our voices have been ignored, or dismissed by those in power. The Uluru Statement from the Heart brought forth a unified voice for First Nations People across Australia.
Two years ago, I sat down on Eastern Arrernte Country at a place called Ross River, an hour east of Alice Springs. I remember hearing the voices of my people at the Regional Dialogue held by the Referendum Council. I remember the collective energy of these activists; pioneers that have been fighting for our rights and land since before I was born. I was there alongside a handful of other young people, learning from the leaders before us.
Four people were elected to represent our respective Nations in Central Australia at the Uluru Convention. Our people have been waiting to find common ground for hundreds of years. Finally we were able to create a collective vision of what a brighter future within this country would comprise. Having our voices heard and acted upon was central to this vision, and shone through as a key element of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
What would it look like to listen and act upon the voices of First Nations people across this country? What would non-Indigenous people learn? How would the world around us change for the better?
We have 80,000 years of ancestral knowledge that has been passed down through story. We have been using our voices to share knowledge, to stay strong in our cultures and to share a challenge to all Australians.
A challenge to create a brighter future. A challenge to create a more equal system where we value Country, community and humanity. Our people have lived in harmony with the land since time immemorial. We currently live in a time of crisis, and I believe First Nations people hold the answers towards creating a new path or system that works for all of us, not just for a few.
We are a diverse group of people, perspectives and nations, and our collective voices have the power to shape a new narrative for this Country. It’s time to start listening.
NAIDOC Week (7-14 July 2019) is a national celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Find out more at naidoc.org.au.