This study guide on the Statement from the Heart was written by and for Second Peoples seeking to explore and pursue a truthful, just and meaningful relationship with First Peoples. In creating this study guide, the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania is seeking to further its commitment towards First and Second Peoples walking jointly together in an intentional relationship it calls ‘Covenanting’.
Either on your own or in a group, you will be able to explore what First Peoples said about Voice.Treaty.Truth in the Statement from the Heart.
- Include recognition of NAIDOC week (4-11 July) in your worship services on either 4 or 11 July. As soon as possible after NAIDOC week, commence exploring the six sessions.
- Advise the presbytery of the timing and location of your group/s (including online) if you are open to other people from congregations in our presbytery joining in. This way, people from congregations who cannot start a group can still join one. We will provide an online form so that you can advise us of group details.
- Presbytery will offer three online conversations about the Statement from the Heart with guest conversation partners. Dates and times tba. People can join these whether or not they are part of discussion groups. The sessions will also be recorded and put online for viewing anytime.
- We invite you to explore some connection with First Peoples in your area – groups, history, places, culture – so that this becomes more than an in-church discussion.
- We invite you to give us feedback about the sessions and your local exploring so that we might share stories and learn from one another across our churches and region.
The Statement from the Heart emerged from The First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017. It was the coming together of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to articulate the nature of reforms desired by First Nations, and advise parliament on a pathway toward a successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
The Statement from the Heart called for two reforms. They are:
- The establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian 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.
- The establishment of a Makarrata Commission to;
- Supervise a process of agreement-making, or treaty, between governments and First Nations, and
- Provide a means for truth-telling about the history of Australia’s First Peoples.