"Truth-telling is a key demand in the Uluru Statement and is seen as a vital
step for both the Voice to Parliament and a Treaty. However, there has been
ongoing debate as to whether historical injustices against First Nations
peoples need to be addressed today.
Wiradjuri and Wailwan lawyer Teela Reid posed a question in a 2020 essay, is
Australia ready to Gari Yala (speak truth) and reckon with its past?
We recently conducted a study to investigate this question by looking at First
Nations community truth-telling practices. Our study found these communities
have shown significant leadership in truth-telling, often without resources or
support. Importantly, they have invited non-Indigenous people to also take part
Truth-telling can take the form of memorial and commemorative events,
repatriation of remains and cultural artefacts, the renaming of places, and the
creation of public artworks and healing sites. A recent example is the Yoorrook
Justice Commission’s truth-telling commission. Yoorrook released the
truth-telling report this week, providing 46 recommendations for reforms into
Victoria’s justice and child protection systems.
We found when non-Indigenous people participated in truth-telling with First
Nations communities, it helped build a deeper shared understanding of the past
and the achievements of First Nations peoples. This is why truth-telling is a
collective social responsibility and non-Indigenous Australians are crucial
But there is still much work to do. Many important historical events and First
Nations achievements remain largely unrecognised. Sustained funding and support
and the recognition of Australia’s difficult historical truths are crucial."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics