Three minutes captured 60,000 years of connection

Dean Parkin Sydney Morning Herald May 27, 2019

The tension is rippling through the room; you can almost see it shimmer as more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples pause for a heavy, silent moment.

Professor Megan Davis, an indomitable Cobble Cobble woman, pro-vice chancellor at the University of NSW and member of the Referendum Council, has just spoken into life the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru statement takes only three minutes to read but you do not have to tell the people in the room how weighty these minutes are. It is right to pause, to draw breath, to consider what these words have captured:

The more than 60 millenniums of spiritual and physical connection to country……… The generations of activism and advocacy by our ancestors who fought an existential battle so that we could take our rightful place in, and on our own country. We are still here, still striving.

Six months of intense dialogue with more than 1,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across urban, regional and remote Australia. Hearts and minds, bound together in vision and hope.

Two days of robust exploration, challenge and debate at the constitutional convention, not knowing whether all this work would result in a consensus to drive the constitutional and structural reforms so badly needed by our people. And if we do deliver consensus, will it be heard?

Finally, these three minutes.

The beauty of these heartfelt words cannot hide the substance of the proposed reforms: Voice, Treaty, Truth. There should be no debate about the need for significant constitutional and structural reform but sadly that battle is still ahead of us. As Megan speaks, we are already resolved.

Gumatj clan ceremonial leaders performing the Gurtha ceremony at the opening ceremony of the First Nations National Convention held in Uluru in 2017.

With love and hope, the Uluru Statement delivers a final, remarkable gift: an invitation to the people of Australia to walk with us on a path towards a more spiritually generous and inclusive nation that is truly at peace with itself and its history. A nation that has the richness and genius of its First Peoples and their heritage at the core of its identity……………….

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