Writer and historian Jackie Huggins believes Australian churches have a key role in “truth-telling” – an essential part of reconciliation in which the history of Australia’s First Nations peoples is told. Source: The Catholic Leader.
The Bidjara/Birri-Gubba Juru woman from central and north Queensland, shared her family history – a story of shattered lives including forced removal from traditional lands and child servitude – at the first Laurel Blow Speaker Series for 2022, a joint event facilitated by Australian Catholic University and Evangelisation Brisbane.
“My mother was rounded up on the back of a cattle truck,” Dr Huggins told an audience at ACU’s Banyo campus, referring to the forced removal of aborigines under the terms of the past Aboriginal Protection Act.
“It’s not unique, she wasn’t the only one. There are so many truths that we need to talk about.”
Since 2020, Dr Huggins has co-chaired the Eminent Panel advising the Queensland Government on truth-telling and leading all Queenslanders on the next stage of establishing treaties with Indigenous peoples.
Her presentation at ACU included projections of family photos and an oral family history – part of a truth-telling process that the Brisbane Archdiocese has committed to under its 2020-2022 Reconciliation Action Plan.
Dr Huggins told the ACU audience that a referendum on introducing an Indigenous Voice to Parliament was a “golden opportunity” to address past injustices and a “catalyst” to help close the gap in the many areas of life where Indigenous Australians lag behind the rest of the community.
First nations truth telling uncovers painful past, but helps pave reconciliation path (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)