Uluru Statement from the Heart

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Denise Bowden, CEO of Yothu Yindi, signing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in Central Australia.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart[1] was released 26 May 2017 by delegates to a Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Referendum Convention held near Uluru in Central Australia. The statement calls for a ‘First Nations Voice’ in the Australian Constitution and a ‘Makarrata Commission’ to supervise a process of ‘agreement-making’ and ‘truth-telling’ between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.[2] The statement references the 1967 referendum which brought about changes to the Constitution of Australia to include indigenous Australians.

Referendum Council[edit]

A 16-member Referendum Council was jointly appointed on 7 December 2015 by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to advise the government on steps towards a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.[3] More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from around Australia were delegates at the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru where they adopted the Uluru Statement from the Heart with a standing ovation.[4]

Uluru Statement from the Heart[edit]

"We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: 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. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future."

 This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 4.0 license.


The official painted and signed canvas of the Statement was presented to the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, at the Indigenous Garma festival in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.[5] The Statement was also on display alongside musician John Butler at the Woodford folk festival in Queensland.[6]


Makarrata is a Yolngu word "describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice".[7]


  1. ^ "Uluru Statement from the Heart". Referendum Council. Retrieved 14 Jul 2018.
  2. ^ "Uluru Statement: a quick guide". Australian Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 14 Jul 2018.
  3. ^ "The Council - Referendum Council". www.referendumcouncil.org.au. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  4. ^ Referendum Council. "Uluru - National Convention". www.referendumcouncil.org.au. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  5. ^ Davidson, Helen (5 August 2017). "Indigenous recognition: Turnbull refuses to commit to referendum council's proposal". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  6. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (25 May 2018). "A year on, the key goal of Uluru statement remains elusive". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  7. ^ "What is a Makarrata? It's more than a synonym for treaty". ABC News. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2018.