BIG READ: Reconciliation in action motivates elder
AS NATIONAL Reconciliation Week draws to a close for 2019, a local Aboriginal elder is looking to make sure it is not forgotten through the year.
Traditional owner Aunty Cheri Yingaa Yavu-Kama-Harathunian is a director of the IWC.
Aunty Cheri says reconciliation in action motivates, values and recognises the rightness of "we-ness” over singularity.
"It requires a collective humility because the paramount focus of Reconciliation in Action is bringing people into a safe and secure zone where barriers can be recognised, respected, responded to and resolved,” Aunty Cheri said.
"From this, we are empowered to consider 'we', 'ours' and 'us' becoming the conversation. This is the time to consider the reasons why certain pathways to reconciliation have not eventuated. It is because history to date has ignored that prior to 1788 this was a continent of nations governed by Covenant Agreements.”
"Reconciliation in action shares respect, kindness and honesty in the face of a deep-rooted offence which has created barriers. The offence, formed in ignorance, echoes throughout history to the present day.”
Aunty Cheri said forgiveness and acceptance, the key elements of reconciliation, emerged from a shared experience between all concerned.
"It takes reconciliation out of the mundane and into the realms of spiritual profoundness,” she said.
"It matters to nation builders, in particular government, politicians, and the common man.
"Therefore reconciliation must be more than an aspiration or plan.”
Aunty Cheri said for reconciliation to be upheld through action, "it must be tangible, doable and include specific actions undertaken by our communities with integrity of spirit and trust between all parties”.
"The outcomes develop within a Reconciliatory Framework and an Aboriginal Terms of Reference, and before an activity manifests there is recognition that it is within a humility paradigm which incorporates a subliminal integrity of spirit and soul,” she said.
Aunty Cheri said the process of forgiveness and acceptance is a transformational one, because all parties are engaged in a spiritual experience.
"The application of all this makes reconciliation move into action, rather than being an aspiration or plan,” she said.
"The application of all of this makes reconciliation move into action, rather than being an aspiration or plan.”
Aunty Cheri said a covenant agreement must be recognised and respected within reconciliation in action as being as relevant today as in ancient times.
She said for 60,000 years, covenant areements were an arrangement whereby this country was governed and its peoples were ensured the inalienable rights to:
Practice Aboriginal spirituality as handed down from generation to generation from the ancestors.
Practice Aboriginal customary cultural law as the guide to accepted values and mores. These promoted suitable behaviours to enable peace and harmony between sovereign nation peoples.
Follow the family systems chosen by the tribal group, including parental guidance by Elders and community to maintain the family as an entity in its own right.
Recognise, appreciate and that the land owned the people, who were its custodians.
Practice obligation and reciprocity between sovereign nations' peoples.
Promote trading across the sovereign nations' boundaries.
Promote and practice experiential learning to educate children and adults alike to appreciate and value their cultural identity, their culture and their connectedness to their sacred lands.
"Direct parallels can be drawn between the seven pillars of society that exist in today's Australia, and those of the ancient sovereign peoples of Australia and other colonised First Peoples' nations,” Aunty Cheri said.
Aunty Cheri said treaties were "made and broken in line with political fads”.
"They are transient and shifting, driven by agendas, and attempts to reposition public opinion to meet political operational needs. They are not born out of the will of the populace, and do not have ownership among the common man,” she said.
"Constitutional change is driven by treaties and political masters (often those men in the back room) as a method of embedding a political stance in the public psyche. This is for the purpose of maintaining or escalating the desired direction in which the government of the day wishes to move. It is not underpinned by integrity, but motivated by political expediency and commercial agendas. "Covenant agreement is binding. It can only be forged at sovereign level and is designed to find a middle ground where war has been held, or is at risk of occurring. It requires both parties to come together in equity and equality, accepting of differences and respectful of culture and the peoples within those sovereign nations.”
Aunty Cheri said unlike treaties, covenant agreements were immutable and "can only be forged between the crown and Australia's sovereign peoples, irrespective of the current status”.
"A covenant agreement builds a compassionate and respectful bridge between nations whereby sovereign representatives such as the British crown and elders of the sovereign peoples' nations can come together in peace,” she said.
"It is this peaceful gathering that inspires both parties toward meeting a middle ground for the highest good of all. In particular, when a nation as young as Australia is promoting its adult status on the world stage, the past must be honoured and remembered well beyond the arrival of the colonists. To do so is to step out of the juvenile nation-building status quo and into a mature, wise, compassionate stance of ancient wisdoms working with and alongside the modern world view. One Australia united in its history, its present and its future.”
"Reconciliation is about healing the land upon which this nation has built its hopes and dreams. The healing of the land will heal the people, and when the people are healed they will look outwardly to those around them and consider them to be Brothers and Sisters of the same family; Australians building their Nation for the Highest Good.
"This nation has become the beauty of peoples' expressions for living in a peaceful and prosperous country where the energies of positivity and security are harnessed and held in high esteem.
"Delivering Reconciliation in Action with integrity will provide the highest good for all, bringing together a nation that looks to a strong, harmonious and invested future.”