What Synod support for the Statement from the Heart means
In 2019, Rev Dr John Squires said a proposal presented to Synod – in consultation with the Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and Rev. Dr Amelia Koh Butler – supporting the Statement from the Heart and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission reflected the church’s commitment to telling the truth.
The Statement from the Heart was made in 2017 and outlined Truth, Voice and Treaty by way of a Makarrata (Truth-Telling) Commission, and a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice.
“This truth is confronting and challenging,” Rev Dr Squires said in 2019.
“Drawing on the voices of Indigenous peoples, we have named the settlement of this continent as a colonising movement, generated by foreign imperialism, manifesting in violent invasion and genocidal massacres, spread from north to south, from east to west, of this continent.”
The resolution as published in the Synod 2019 Minutes was as follows:
TREATY MAKARATTA STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
(i) To commend the Assembly’s Walking Together resources to Presbyteries, Congregations, Parish Missions, Schools and other UCA organisations for study and consideration,
(ii) To listen to the 2017 Statement from the Heart made at Uluru, recognising that it provides a consensus position of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across Australia, who have drawn on twelve regional dialogues amongst First Peoples, expressing the preferred pathway towards reconciliation
(iii) To commend the 2017 Statement from the Heart to congregations, presbyteries and agencies for prayerful engagement and discussion, noting especially the resource prepared by the Anglican Board of Mission, “A Voice in the Wilderness: listening to the Statement to the Heart” (2018), AND FURTHER RESOURCES TO BE PUBLISHED LATER THIS YEAR.
(iv) To urge the NSW State Government and the ACT Government each to establish a process of agreement making between those governments and First Nations, and provide a means for truth telling about the history of Australia’s First Peoples.
(v) To urge the Commonwealth Government to implement (a) the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution to empower First Peoples to have a greater say in policy and legislation which governs their affairs and, in so doing, improve their autonomy and prosperity; and (b) the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to [supervise] FURTHER a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations, and provide a means for truth-telling about the history of Australia’s First Peoples
You can read more about the Uniting Church’s commitment to telling truth in Rev Dr Squires’s article Giving Voice, Telling Truth, Talking Treaty: NAIDOC 2019 on his blog, An Informed Faith.
You can support the Synod Office’s Statement from the Heart campaign by clicking here.
If you would also like to sign your name on the Canvas click here to visit FromtheHeart.com.au.