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2006 Ten steps towards dignity and justice for Indigenous AustraliansThis is a resource for the 2006 Social Justice Statement.

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1. Acknowledge Indigenous Peoples

Acknowledgement of Country recognises the unique position of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as the original peoples of Australia.

An Acknowledgement of Country at the start of liturgies, meetings and gatherings and an Acknowledgement Plaque placed in buildings show respect for the Indigenous Australians of the region.

2. Take the next step towards Reconciliation

The relationship between Indigenous and other Australians has been wounded by injustice and misunderstanding. Reconciliation includes the process of healing this relationship so that we can build a better future together. Reconciliation requires a conversion of heart, expressed in words and actions that foster and enhance dignity and justice for Indigenous Australians.

3. Become informed

The 2006 Social Justice Sunday Statement, titled The Heart of Our Country: Dignity and justice for our Indigenous sisters and brothers, draws on the historic address of Pope John Paul II in Alice Springs on 29th November, 2006. Four important issues were identified by the Pope:

    • He challenged all Australians to ensure the preservation of Indigenous cultures and to keep working for an inclusive multicultural Australia.
    • He called us to seek and explore the points of agreement between Indigenous traditions and those of Jesus and all his people.
    • He praised the way the Indigenous peoples had cared for the land and then challenged us to learn together how to preserve our fragile environment.
    • Finally, by naming past hurts and continuing injustices, John Paul II confronted us as a nation with the need to move towards true reconciliation.

4. Helpful resources

5. Access and support Christian Indigenous organisations

  • National Aboriginal 6t Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council: www.natsicc.org.au.
  • National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission: www.ncca.org.au/natsiec.
  • Your local Aboriginal Catholic Ministry.

6. Celebrate special days and events

  • Reconciliation Week - 27th May to 3rd June. 27th May is Anniversary of 1967 Referendum; 3rd June is Mabo Day.
  • National Sorry Day - 26th May, the anniversary of the tabling in Federal Parliament of the report Bringing Them Home.
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday - first Sunday in July.
  • National Aboriginal & Islander Week - first week in July.

7. Fly the flag2006 Ten steps towards dignity and justice for Indigenous Australians

Fly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags or display them in liturgical settings to celebrate special days and events.

8. Recognise difference as a gift

Culture, language, religion and nationality provide us with identity and self-confidence, shaping our relationships with one another and the world. People from many lands have enriched Australia, creating a multicultural nation. We can delight in our own heritage and culture while recognising the contribution other cultures can make to Australia, and working to preserve the language, history and culture of Indigenous Australians locally and nationally.

9. Develop a relationship with the land

Indigenous Australians recognise and identify with the spiritual value of the land, which is more than just looking after the land for the sake of what it can give us or enable us to produce.

10. Prayer

  • Use the accompanying Prayer Card prepared by the ACSJC for personal prayer, in schools and parishes, and for family and group prayer time.
  • Always include a prayer for our Indigenous sisters and brothers in the Prayers of Intercession in liturgies.

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