Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following content in this article may contain images of people who are deceased.
Over two and a half centuries have passed and the Australian Government are yet to formally recognise the First Nations people of Australia, whether it be through changes to the Australian Constitution or through a Treaty process, as the first peoples of this country, who’s history dates back over 60,000 years.
This year two Australian Eurovision artists have released statements on indigenous recognition in different ways.
On New Years Day 2020 ‘Eurovision - Australia Decides 2019’ runner ups Electric Fields released a January 26 statement on social media.
The statement read:
“On 26 January we acknowledge the survival of the living cultures and systems of Australia’s First Nations, and we honour women, who are the gateway to all life. From the earth we come, and to the earth we return. The earth is our mother. We are all her caretakers. Our responsibility is to take better care of her.”
The video features footage of the Minmas (Lore Women) of the APY Lands. The emotive music ‘Lore Woman’ by Electric Fields is a previous unreleased track.
You can watch their statement here:
In January 2020 Marie Claire, an Australian Women’s fashion and beauty magazine, started their ‘#itstime’ campaign which features Australia’s 2018 Eurovision representative Jessica Mauboy in their ‘#itstime’ video and on the front cover of the February magazine issue.
As a part of this campaign Mauboy joined many big names in the Australian entertainment, sporting and fashion industry, stating that it’s time for the First peoples, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, of Australia to be recognised with a representative Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, through the ‘Uluru Statement of the Heart’.
The ‘Uluru Statement of the Heart’ was formed in 2017 by delegates in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Referendum Convention, held near Uluru in the Northern Territory. The statement calls for a “First Nations Voice” in the Australian Constitution and the set up of a “Makarrata Commission” to supervise a process of “agreement-making” and “truth-telling” between government and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In keeping with traditions the Uluru statement was made in the form of a work of art with over 250 signatures of delegates who attended the conference and 100 first nations are represented on the artwork as well.
In the Marie Claire article Mauboy explains what Indigenous recognition means to her:
“I was born on Dreamtime land and grew up in Darwin with my mum and four sisters in the suburb of Wulagi. I walked to school every day hand in hand with my sisters, and we’d swim in the local waterfall in the afternoons – minding the freshwater crocs. I feel like I was born cultural. I am Darwin, I am the Northern Territory, I am the saltwater, the freshwater and the desert,”
“I recently went back to Uluru in the Northern Territory, and digging my feet in the red dirt felt powerful. I was there just before they banned climbing it and removed the chain. Uluru has always felt really free to me, especially now the chains are gone. The same thing needs to happen with our constitution, we need to lift the barrier to move forward. For me, Indigenous constitutional recognition would mean freedom.”
You can show your support for this initiative by going to the Uluru Statement of the Heart website here and read more about the Uluru Statement and register your support.
Mayor, Thomas, ‘Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth’, Hardie Grant Publishing, 2019.