On National Sorry Day, we stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise the mistreatment, injustice and trauma for First Peoples who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, whom we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations.’
We deeply regret the legacy of past policies and practices that continue to have a detrimental impact on the identity, dignity, and spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. These historical injustices remain a source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities.
As the community services organisation of the Uniting Church, we support the call from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress:
We want to start a new chapter with the community and government and collaborate and co-design everything that is important to us. We want to uphold the principles of the Uluru Statement and change the system to reflect us, our culture, and our sovereignty as First Peoples in Australia. We want truth to be told and systems to be changed, so that our culture and our history is embedded into every part of our society.
Uniting Vic.Tas strongly supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a First Nations voice to Parliament. We believe this must be enshrined in the Australian constitution to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have a voice over the laws, policies and decisions that affect them.
Uniting Vic.Tas is committed to reconciliation. Our vision for reconciliation is that all people stand together to create socially just and culturally safe relationships with, and opportunities for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
During Reconciliation Week 2022 we are being asked to Be Brave, Make Change and this begins with a commitment to truth-telling.
In Victoria, the Yoorook Truth and Justice Commission is underway. Yoorook is the first formal truth-telling of injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria. As a community, we must listen, learn, and reckon with our past in order to heal and move towards genuine reconciliation.
At Uniting we are pleased to be working on our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (Innovate RAP) launched in March 2021 which commits us to a series of tangible actions for change. Our Innovate RAP guides our efforts to ensure our programs and services respect the cultural rights, values and expectations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities. This work is being driven by our Reconciliation Lead, Eva Orr:
While a lot of work has happened and many significant steps towards reconciliation have been taken, reconciliation is an ongoing journey that we must take together.
Each year events are held across Australia to mark National Reconciliation Week and many Uniting staff will be attending local events in the communities in which they live and work.