As the Federal Government calls for feedback on the second stage of the Indigenous Voice co-design process, The Healing Foundation has today reiterated its strong support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation which partners with communities to heal trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures, and languages. This includes specific actions such as the forced removal of children from their families.
CEO Fiona Petersen says that Stolen Generation survivors and their descendants see all elements of the Uluru Statement – the Constitutional change, the Legislative change, and the Makarrata Commission – as crucial to the process of healing for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
She explains that the Constitutional change enshrines a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution that would empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while the Legislative change establishes a Makarrata Commission, which would oversee agreement-making with Australian governments.
The Makarrata Commission would also oversee a process of truth telling about Australia’s history and colonisation, and clarify how today’s traumas link directly to it.
Time for honesty
Today Ms Petersen said it’s time for genuine and significant reform to progress healing through the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
‘A shared and equal future starts with healing and stopping the trauma,’ she said.
‘Being honest about this is the start. Token gestures do not heal. Incremental change does not end trauma cycles or lead to intergenerational healing.
‘Equity, fairness, and inclusiveness requires big, bold steps to finally address the discrepancies in health, justice, and welfare outcomes for First Nations peoples.
‘We need all Australians, especially our leaders, to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples building a stronger nation together,’ said Ms Petersen.
In recent years The Healing Foundation has been working with Stolen Generations survivors to identify and promote truth telling at a grassroots level in communities around Australia.
The Foundation says that dates like 26 January re-traumatise survivors of policies that led to the forced removal of children from their families and communities. They argue there is still a need for many of these people to share their stories to build a better understanding of Australia’s full history.
‘Stolen Generations survivors and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community know what they need to heal, and they have been telling governments for years,’ said Ms Petersen.
‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution would go a long way to healing our nation.’
Ms Petersen said that First Nations-led movements like the Uluru Statement and Closing the Gap are essential parts of the healing process.
The Healing Foundation is currently in the process of submitting formal feedback on the Indigenous Voice to the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM.
To raise awareness about intergenerational trauma and its impacts on today’s families and communities, The Healing Foundation has produced this short animation: