The Journey to Recognition relay arrived in Narooma on Thursday morning to talk about fixing the Constitution with local residents.
The Journey to Recognition will host events in collaboration with local people and organisations to yarn about recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution and ensuring that the racial discrimination in it is dealt with.
The session at Narooma Golf Club was well attended by indigenous and non-indigenous residents, interested in amending the Constitution in some way to recognise Aboriginal people.
Narooma was one of five stops on this leg of the Journey, which will also visit the communities of Nowra, Wreck Bay, Batemans Bay and Bega.
Uncle Stevie Widders, Anaiwan and Kamilaroi Elder, joined the Journey to Recognition for the sixth time as reforming the Constitution is personally important to him and he believes will bring Australia into the 21st Century.
“Nothing changes, when nothing changes and it is time for a change,” Uncle Stevie said. “We can’t continue to live under a document that was written in 1901 and that gives no recognition to Aboriginal people.”
The Journey to Recognition encourages community members to take an interest in the proposals and the process. And to put their hands up to participate; to share with others and to have a better idea, a clearer idea of what it’s all about and the impact it will have, particularly when it comes to attempts to eliminate racism, he said.
Among those attending was Wally Stewart of Narooma, who continues to actively lobby for Aboriginal fishing rights and the recognition of indigenous people to make use of the land and sea, to be healthy and for economic benefit.
He was cautious that any changes to the Constitution not take away any sovereign rights of Aboriginal people, many of whom considered themselves to be indigenous and for example being of the Yuin people rather than being Australian.
“One word can make a difference so we are going to be very careful with the wording,” Mr Stewart said.
Fellow Narooma local Gillian Kearney also attended and said she would welcome recognition of Aboriginal people in the Constitution.
“I hate racism and as an emergency service worker, I treat all people equally,” she said.
‘Recognise’ is the movement to raise awareness of the need to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and build support for change ahead of any referendum.
It’s role has a very specific focus: to raise awareness of the need to end the exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the Australian Constitution and deal with racial discrimination in it.
Journey to Recognition: Since May 2013, the Journey to Recognition relay has been on the road for 316 days, travelling through 268 communities, travelling by foot, bike, 4-wheel drive, kayak, surfboard, boat and paddle board, holding 358 events and meetings, engaging more than 27,200 people and covering more than 39,700 kilometres in recognition events across Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, the Torres Strait Islands, Tasmania and New South Wales.
For more information about the Journey to Recognition visit www.recognise.org.au