From Uluru: A Statement From the Heart

We continue our reporting on the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia, which included a strong commitment to the Aboriginal peoples with whom the Australian government has never had any treaty.

Below is a document delivered by the Aboriginal peoples in 2017 from the Sacred spot of Uluru, called “A Statement from the Heart.”  It is slightly shortened in length from the original document.  Tomorrow we will share the statement of the recent meeting in Sydney called “Common Dreams Statement.”

Why share these documents here? They both seem very fitting for our Daily Meditations whose emphasis after all is on love and justice, mysticism and spiritual warriorhood.  The issue raised here regarding treatment of the oldest tribe in the world is an issue all around the globe at this time. 

While America and Canada have signed many treaties with their indigenous peoples over the years, one can ask: How many of these have been honored by the government? And what of the indigenous peoples of Brazil, Indonesia, and elsewhere in the world, who are seeing their rights abolished and their sacred lands clearcut? And despite the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations remains silent.

So the questions raised here are repeated around the world. 

Anangu artists (from left) Christine Brumby, Charmaine Kulitja, Rene Kulitja and Happy Reid with the Uluru statement canvas. Photograph by Clive Scollay, The Monthly, May 2019


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.

The Australian Aboriginal flag, whose colors represent the people (black), the earth (red), and the life-giving sun.

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….

See Matthew Fox, “Creation Spirituality and the Dreamtime,” in Matthew Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, 123-144.
Banner Image: “Uluru, Ayers Spring, Australia.” Photo by Antoine Fabre on Unsplash

For Deeper Contemplation

Be with this statement.  Treat it as a Lectio Divina which it is.  Let it wash over you. 
What is it saying to you? 
What is it saying to your culture and to the indigenous people in it and to the shared relationship among them? 
What are they saying to us all today in the name of Mother Earth?

Recommended Reading

In one of his foundational works, Fox engages in substantive discussions with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets on today’s social and spiritual issues on such challenging topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interspirituality, and more.

Fox makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.

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8 thoughts on “From Uluru: A Statement From the Heart”

  1. Avatar

    It’s still shocking to me that any group of people can step foot on land where others already live and declare “this land is ours now.” Yet, Europeans (and others perhaps) did this all over the planet. And now those same plunderers have the gall to call other newcomers “invaders” and to pollute the small bits of land they forced the indigenous people to go live on. I don’t know what reparations can be made and I cannot imagine that they could ever be sufficient, but it’s worth considering what can be done and then making those actions realities. The native people of North America and Australia and other lands have been incredibly patient. It’s time for apologies and redress.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Michele,
      Thank you for your heartfelt response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart from the indigenous peoples of what we now call Australia and New Zealand. Were they not both gracious and strategic with their request? I, too, was touched. May we learn from this document as we seek ways to redress this worldwide scourge of white imperialism, colonialism, and evangelism. Each of us must find our prophetic voice for this injustice, whether art, poetry, extrovert activism, mysticism, or conversation. How can we lay our heads down onto our fluffy white pillows at night, unless we work for their justice during the day?
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

    2. Avatar

      Please Remember it was the British who set foot and declared ”Terra Nullius” on Australia as the French , Dutch ,French and Portuguese had sailed to and had come and gone from Australia before the British arrived to colonise. It was not Europeans .

      1. Gail Ransom

        Dear Kavisha,
        Thank you for that clarification about the British being the ones who colonized of Australia. Empire building has been taken on by so many nations. It is the pinnacle expression of highly developed western cultures. The British built their Empire around the world. In their own time, so did the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Romans and the Turks. America has its own version of economic colonization – besides colonizing the land of its indigenous peoples. Nasty business, this.
        Gail Sofia Ransom
        For the DM Team

  2. Avatar

    The comment above says it all.
    When did people who look different
    Or live differently EVER become possessed by culture who thinks we/ they know better for those people than they know for themselves?
    Truth = in my humble opinion is that the crazier we get with living out of balance with health and kindness and so much more, the more eloquent and wisdom filled the original inhabitants of momma earth become. We should be modeling them. Not the other way around.

    1. Avatar

      I so agree, Josephine. Yes, we should be modeling the indigenous people. You make me think especially about the British. I love so many things about them, but they are fairly reserved, fairly stiff, as a culture. You’ve anticipated what Matthew says in Wednesday’s video, quoting Thomas Merton: “We have not understood their playful roads. We have fought Eros.” We Europeans were too stiff to get their living spirituality.

    2. Gail Ransom

      Dear Josephine,
      Thank you for joining in this most important conversation. How blind we have been to the culture wars that have oppressed those who know and love the land, who know how to hold it sacred. We have so much to learn.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

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