Book Review: Finding the Heart of the Nation

Finding the Heart of the Nation. Image by Adele Aria.

Sorry Day, 2020

Today (26 May, 2020) marks three years since the Uluru Statement was gifted to all Australians by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth

“The words remind us that colonisation did not extinguish the sacred link that no other civilisation on earth can claim – that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are born from, remain attached to, and will return to be invited with ancestors stretching back an amazing 60,000 years. At the same time, the Uluru Statement acknowledges the sovereignty that we all share, as citizens of Australia.”
– beautiful words by Thomas Mayor, in Finding the Heart of the Nation.

Finding the Heart of the Nation

He continues: “Makarrata is a Yolnu word for a process of ‘coming together after a struggle’. In this ancient process that still exists today, the parties must bring truthfulness and a genuine intent to make an agreement about how the wrongs of the past will be resolved. At the completion of this process, relations are strengthened, and peace prevails. To begin this process, First Nations must have a representative Voice.”

The Uluru Statement (or Makarrata) is, in itself, poetic and powerful.

The book is beautiful and provides edifying insight to the process and the lived experiences that contributed to the Statement. A gorgeous and colourful celebration of people, histories, stories, and generosity of spirit, it reveals a great deal about what went into the creation of the Uluru Statement. I had hoped, when acquiring it, that it would fast become an insight to a significant and momentous shift in our history. Instead, as of 2020, we have yet to see any of the calls to action detailed within the Statement come to fruition. Despite the book centring on much-needed change to address terrible inequities and human rights atrocities, it is an  energising read.

It is a compelling read, full of many different voices and journeys, which came together in one shared journey that ultimately conveys a determined hopefulness. 

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