We are excited to share Reconciliation SA’s first Book Review from Book Club participant, Sarah Alpers. Sarah was apart of the inaugural book review gathering on January 13 2020.

 

The small group read from Thomas Mayor’s Finding the Heart of the Nation. Read the review below:

Thomas Mayor has written the wonderfully rich and inspiring “Finding the Heart of the Nation. The journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth.”

In this engaging and insightful book, Thomas describes his travels over 18 months across the country, introducing his precious travelling companion, the painted canvas of the “Uluru Statement from the Heart” to First Nations’ people ‘from all parts of the Southern sky.’

Thomas starts by sharing his own personal journey to Uluru, as a Torres Strait Islander growing up on Larrakia land in Darwin, being a wharfie, a Maritime union official and then an elected delegate to the historic Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017. Following the Convention and supported by his union and key leaders, Thomas embarked upon a mission to start a people’s movement by taking the Uluru Statement to the people, fully aware of his responsibility to protect the sacred canvas and share its powerful message.

Thomas interviews 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, some well known and others lesser so, but all are leaders within their own communities, who share their individual stories. By listening with warmth and generosity, Thomas enables his interview subjects to speak deeply and openly about their history, their activism and their connection to the Uluru statement.

From reading about their remarkable lives, I was sorely reminded of the racism of the past and the present, yet inspired by the humanity, humour and resilience of First Nations’ people and their communities. Their stories give depth and substance to the eloquent words of the Statement, and Thomas deftly weaves their voices into the Statement’s broader purpose, to speak to the Australian people calling for a voice, for a treaty and for truth.

The book concludes with a direct and galvanising call to the reader for action, to educate and activate our community groups, schools, councils, sporting clubs, unions, NGOs and the like, to support the campaign for a referendum, for a First Nations Voice in the Constitution.

The “Uluru Statement from the Heart” joins the Yirrkala bark petition and the Barunga Statement as a landmark appeal from First Nations’ people for profound change. This time it is an appeal, not to government, but a heartfelt call for action to the people of Australia. To better understand the deep meaning of the Uluru Statement for First Nation’s people, and to help realise its vision, Thomas Mayor’s book is essential reading – a book that comes from the heart and touches the heart.

Sarah Alpers
22 January 2020