NAIDOC Week 2019

Friday, 5 July 2019
Voice Treaty Truth
2019 National NAIDOC logo.

Only when we listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices will we be able to deliver health solutions that will succeed

The National Rural Health Alliance has joined many Australian individuals and organisations to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

In addition to this fundamental recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, the Alliance continues to support proposals to increase funding to train and support an additional 3000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Workers and Practitioners to extend the delivery of culturally safe preventative health and treatment services.

We support the calls to increase the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and the immediate implementation of the END RHD (rheumatic heart disease) priorities.  View our ‘Improve Indigenous Health’ Infographic

The Alliance is proud to be a member of the Close the Gap Committee and to support our four peak Indigenous Member Bodies:

Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA)
Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM)
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA)
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Their work plays a key role in improving health services and outcomes for the 65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who live in rural and remote Australia.

The Alliance is supporting NAIDOC Week 2019 by publishing the full text and audio of the Uluru Statement delivered by Professor Megan Davis on 26 May 2017 at a gathering of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander leaders, following a four-day First Nations national Constitutional Convention held at Uluru.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart

“We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart: 

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago. 

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. 

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? 

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood. 

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. 

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness. 

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country. 

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. 

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination. 

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history. 

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. ”

Listen here:

Professor Megan Davis, member of the Referendum Council, reads out the Uluru Statement from the Heart on the floor of the First Nations Convention. 

Cultural Awareness Training

Participants at the Cultural Awareness Training

Thank you to Melanie Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) for facilitating the Cultural Awareness Training for staff of the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA), Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), College of Midwives, Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Yarramundi Cultural Centre.