Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Blog Post

Frank Brennan: Walking together for a better future

Posted 5 Oct 2018 11:00AM


FRANK BRENNAN. Walking together for a better future (Eureka Street, 01.10.18)

Frank Brennan’s keynote address to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council Assembly entitled: ‘Strong Faith. Strong Youth. Strong Future — Walking Together in a movement of the Australian people for a better future’. 1 October 2018, Technology Park — Bentley, Perth

I join with you acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. Just prior to the 25th anniversary of Mabo and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 constitutional referendum, 250 Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders gathered at Uluru in the centre of Australia to consider how you might best be recognised in the Australian Constitution which does not even mention you nor the history of your ancestors. They issued the Uluru Statement from the Heart telling all of us that your sovereignty is ‘a spiritual notion’. They told all of us:

‘[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.’

I was curious about this statement because I knew that not many of you 21st century Aboriginal Australians use terms like therefrom, thereto and thither.