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2016 Survival Day Message

2016 Survival Day Message

Magayamirri Rom. Greetings to you
in the Yolngu languages of north-eastern Arnhem Land. “May the way of peace and tranquility, harmony with the whole creation, be with and within you.” As Australians across the country pause to mark the anniversary of British settlement I wanted to share with you some reflections on the 26th of January a day which many including myself refer to as “Survival Day”. On this day I encourage you to celebrate the resilience of our First Peoples the indigenous people of this land who have survived the waves of colonisation which have swept over them. Aboriginal leaders in all walks of life are making extraordinary contributions to our shared life and helping us all
to better understand ourselves and our nation. Across all parts of Australia cultural practices connecting the First Peoples with this land and creation continue to be life-giving. Ancient languages are spoken and many are now being saved from extinction. These are good reasons for all Australians to give thanks. Our national day is a good time for those of us who are the Second Peoples to see with new clarity the wonderful heritage that is embodied in the nations and clans of this land’s First Peoples. I welcome the Australia Day Council’s acknowledgement that our national day should be authentic and mature a day when we can celebrate and
mourn at the same time. Respect for First Peoples is the hallmark of a great nation and it’s now time for us to follow through on our unfinished business with First Peoples. For Christians, Christ’s love compels us to be truth tellers, ministers of reconciliation daughters and sons of peace and bearers of light and love. In the Uniting Church we recognised First Peoples in our Constitution some years ago. We’re now committed to a conversation about
what it would mean for us to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as sovereign peoples. We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander
Christian Congress in their desire to engage the Federal Government on their just concerns for a Treaty denied for so long in this land. There is much work to do. May God grant us the perseverance to carry forward these important conversations working together with Australians who have a passion for indigenous justice. This Survival Day may you hold the warmth of the campfire in your heart.

3 thoughts on “2016 Survival Day Message”

  1. Thank you for your encouragement toward " Survival Day". Our neighbour is an Aboriginal Elder and it makes us very uncomfortable that she suffers along with her 1st Nation People because of unfinished business. May God grant us good conversations together in order for all Australians to share His peace and reconcilliation. Judith Pinel

  2. It is definitely time for this discussion to take place. In Australia to gain respect,denial of Aboriginal blood was a guarantee to gain acceptance.Most so called successful pioneer families complied with the rules of the new society to deny any Aboriginal blood .The accompanying taboos of this society, isolated relatives from each other . In Victoria 1870, we see only 43,000 women and 340 ,000 men so the population increased because of this racial mixing. But they had no trouble in removing from discussion or spoken memory the background that would not be accepted; this denial of heritage was accepted as fact or truth because so many pioneer families had similar backgrounds.This conspiracy of silence left a legacy of taboo that still castes a shadow over our country today Both convict and Aboriginal ancestory a stain to overcome………….. " he will pass" being the general advice for my grandsons Aboriginal heritage born 1988… deny his fathers family or what ??? .
    … Grand daughter of Presbyterian /Uniting Church Minister and pioneering family

  3. This is wonderful. We congratulate and thank Stuart McMillan and the UCA in their lead in this important call for a new conversation around sovereignty and treaty; in solidarity and in deep respect of the first peoples' of these lands. Your calls to treaty/ treaties, over many, many decades have been heard. We need the conversations to commence. May we encourage others to perhaps view this 8 minute video (of August 2014) – I"The message from very many Aboriginal Peoples in Australia to the Australian Government is that the time is long overdue for genuine negotiation on treaties. "
    Let us move towards truth, healing and justice. Peace

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