Voice Treaty Truth: NAIDOC keynote


Uncle Grant Sarra delivered the keynote speech at the Bundaberg and District NAIDOC Ball on Saturday, addressing the theme of Voice Treaty Truth. Mr Sarra is an experienced cultural consultant, proudly Bundaberg born and a traditional custodian. This is a summary of his speech, supplied by Bundaberg and District NAIDOC Chairman, Robert McLellan.

Grant Sarra, Voice Treaty Truth
Grant Sarra delivered the keynote speech at the Bundaberg and District NAIDOC Ball on Saturday. Picture: Matthew Daniels, Right Image Photography

By Grant Sarra

Before this discussion gets run into the ground by pathetic, ignorant and self-serving people like Morrison, Hanson, Dutton and other lesser-known politicians, just like Turnbull, Abbott and Howard before them who were quick to dismiss us in order to maintain their status quo (and, we would have had the same from others on the opposite side):

We need a new group of our people to stand up and lead.

People who are prepared to stand united and ask the hard questions and press the right buttons (those who are not comfortably assimilated) on the system that has illegally taken ownership and applied sovereignty over our lands (despite our lands never being ceded), committed genocide on our people, marginalised us and now socially, culturally, legally and economically patronise and oppress us further in either adult or juvenile prisons, as stolen generations survivors, or as victims of mental health, inter-generational trauma, drug or alcohol addiction, inter-generational unemployment or welfare dependence. 

This has always been, and will always be our land! And it is time we wake up and fight back, harder than any time previous, for what are our basic human rights.

Our ancestors didn’t lose their lives at the hands of the British Empire (and all they sent, or for what has transpired since 1788) for us to give up fighting now for justice for crimes against their humanity and our humanity and modern-day human rights!

Four things I would like to see talked about, and talked about and talked about until we get authentic acknowledgement, respect and action:

  1. We need to prepare a “231 Reparations Plan” (seeking compensation for the genocide and crimes against our people since 1788) to present to the British Empire; 
  2. We need to prepare a “First Peoples Future Investment Strategy” (based on our people being recipients of 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP, in perpetuity) for a delegation of new leaders among our people to meet and negotiate (under the direction — and honourable and watchful eye of respected international human rights legal experts) — with our current illegal federal government and its state and territory counterparts at The Hague;
  3. We need to establish a Truth and Justice Commission that has the resources along with the capability, honour, integrity, dignity and humility to research and tell the truth and deliver justice;
  4. We need a National First People’s Embassy and Keeping Place/Memorial/Museum and Meeting Place/Complex in Canberra consisting:

a) 400+ individual rooms that employ representatives of each of our traditional custodian groups across our country to continue to research and tell their own truthful histories and stories and share/educate all Australians and the world about their future aspirations;

b) A facility to house the unknown remains of our people respectfully, culturally and with dignity until their spiritual ancestors and homes are found;

c) A facility to house our sacred artefacts and modern day artworks and stories — with a capacity to conduct cultural and modern scientific research to repatriate those artefacts and remains of our people currently housed in museums in other countries; and

d) A National First People Meeting Place and Centre Cultural Excellence and Leadership where we re-embrace our ancient lore, culture and customs (our governance framework) to inform domestic and global policy making (Western Governance Framework) allowing us, and other like-minded souls, a true and respected voice and a right to successfully walk proudly in two worlds!

This would form the foundation of an authentic (opposed to gammon) Treaty, it would ensure our Truth is researched and told, it will provide us with a Voice, and enable us and other Australians to Heal!