Archbishop Mark Coleridge publicly endorsed the Uluru Statement From The Heart* on behalf of the Archdiocese of Brisbane at an event at Ormiston on Friday September 24.
His Grace’s backing for the statement came at the end of a speech by Dean Parkin, Director of From the Heart, an organisation committed to establishing a new relationship between First Nations peoples and the Australian nation based upon structural reform.
Fittingly the event was hosted at the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, in full view of Stradbroke Island, home to the Quandamooka people and site of the initial and peaceful interactions between First Nations people and members of the Church in what was then the colony of New South Wales.
In proclaiming his support for the Uluru Statement From the Heart, the Archbishop said it represented a chance of a better future for this nation.
“If we look at the situation in Australia some Australians are still excluded, and first among these are our First Nations People, who in many ways been turned into refugees in the land that they have called home for many thousands of years,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“The Statement is a very important document that calls for leadership, discussion and reflection by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders leaders.
“Our role is not to do things on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but to listen to them, to learn from them, to accompany them, and to support them to determine their own future.
“In 1967 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people were counted for the first time, and now they seek to be heard.
“So as Archbishop I call on all people of goodwill and good intention to support the journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by endorsing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and by putting it into action in every way possible.
“And may God, who has begun this good work in us and in many others, bring it to fruition. Amen.”
The public endorsement follows a series of milestones involving the Archbishop and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane with regards to relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:
- The Archdiocese launched its first RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) in November 2020, which has so far resulted in 6 pilot parishes and 2 agencies implementing the RAP
- the first event in the Laurel Blow Speaker Series featured Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) woman Evelyn Parkin speaking about her Catholic faith and Aboriginal spirituality
- and the Archdiocesan executive directors participated in cultural awareness and immersion program The Waterhole Exercise in collaboration with EREA (Edmund Rice Education Services).
The latter was what highlighted the necessity for an Archdiocesan endorsement of the Uluru Statement From The Heart.
Cynthia Rowan (Archdiocese of Brisbane RAP Project Manager) said this would be an historic moment for the Church in Brisbane and its relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“Public endorsement of the Uluru Statement From The Heart reflects the Church’s commitment to the Archdiocesan Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan that calls for solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Ms Rowan said.
“It also acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voice to influence and contribute cultural knowledge has been called for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders for decades.”
To see the Archbishop’s endorsement of the Uluru Statement, as well as other videos about the Archdiocese of Brisbane’s Reconciliation Action Plan, please click through to Reconciliation Action Plan Video Playlist on YouTube
*From the Heart is a campaign for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution.