The campaign for a constitutionally enshrined Voice is the most important campaign in our lifetimes.
Whether we are advocating for the revitalising and preserving of First Nations languages, or truth telling about this nation’s history; whether we are trying to strengthen our land rights, reform the justice system, gain greater resources to teach Indigenous culture and languages, or simply have more homes built in our remote communities â€“ all that we do depends on our ability to build leverage and use it in a way that moves the nation’s ultimate decision makers in Canberra, and then to hold them to account if they fail or ignore us.
A constitutionally protected Voice precedes truth telling in our priorities, firstly because truth telling is happening. Great work is being done on truth telling, including in schools, but truth telling needs a representative Voice. What is the truth of the past without the political power to use it for our future?
A constitutionally protected Voice precedes treaty; not exclusively, treaty talks are already happening in the states and territories. A Voice must be established with urgency to support treaty making where First Nations have chosen to do so, because in a federal system, it is the Commonwealth we must reckon with more importantly than the states.
I believe we can win a referendum to protect and empower our Voice, and the movement towards success will be built in the classrooms and schools across Australia.
The words of the Uluru Statement â€“ how it covers pre-colonisation, our connection to Country, what sovereignty means to us, what the problems are and how they are unacceptable, how we can rectify them with recognition, a Voice, truth telling and a settlement â€“ can be used in many creative ways that will engage children and young people.
If teachers can imagine ways that will provide children and young people with the means to take home the invitation in the Uluru Statement, to the adults in their lives, our research shows that the adults in their lives are likely to decide to vote yesâ€. The movement starts with you. Go to fromtheheart.com.au to find helpful resources.
This is an edited version of an article first published in the Journal for Professional Learning. To read the full article, visit cpl.asn.au.