"I have a culture. I am a cultured person. Iylpmwa arrpenharl-then angkem. Iylpmwa atyengenh iteth-antey. I am not something that fell out of the sky for the pleasure of somebody putting another culture into this cultured being... I am Arrernte, Alyawarre, First Nations person, a sovereign person from this country.
I didn't come from overseas. I came from here. My language, in spite of whiteness trying to penetrate into my brain by assimilationists — I am alive, I am here and now — and I speak my language. I practise my cultural essence of me. Don't try and suppress me and don't call me a problem.
I am not the problem. I have never left my country nor have I ceded any part of it. Nobody has entered into a treaty or talked to me about who I am. I am Arrernte Alyawarre female elder from this country. Please remember that. I am not the problem."1
These are powerful words from Aunty Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.
To find a solution to any problem we must first be able to speak about it, to name it, to understand its scale, its origins and the ways we are impacted by it, perhaps even the ways some people benefit off its perpetuation.
Ignored problems don't go away. They fester, they cause harm. They divide us.
The ongoing denial and inability to grapple with the true history of this country — our shared history — has an ongoing impact that underpins many harmful policies and experiences of First Nations people across this country but it also sabotages any ability to move forward together as a nation and heal.
There is building momentum and appetite for recognition and understanding of the full history of this country. First Nations people and activists have been calling for this for generations.
The Victorian government has just committed to the first truth-telling commissions in the country and has established the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, charting a course forward that upholds the dignity, respect and justice for First Nations peoples.2
Yawuru Senator Pat Dodson echoed the rallying cry of generations of First Nations and many people across the country in Parliament — calling for the beginning of a Federal truth-telling process.3
But shamefully and predictably, the motion failed in the Senate. Morrison's Liberal party teamed up with One Nation to keep this country in the dark and voted it down, proving they're out of touch with the sentiment of this nation.4
We're not giving up.
The Morrison Government wants to keep this country in the dark — because they know if they shine a light on the truth of this place, they can't maintain the status quo.
We can't let this government turn its back on the aspirations of First Nations peoples. So now we have to show them that there is a growing movement of people who won't stay silent about the history of this country.
The opportunity for First Nations peoples to tell the truth of the realities of colonisation for our communities is long overdue. But it's not just about what was taken — it's a chance to tell the powerful stories of our pride, survival and resilience.
It's these stories that have been intentionally erased from our history books and our classrooms.
In a world of disinformation and willful ignorance, we need to find our common truth.
It's the denial of our shared truth that has caused the deaths of over 430 First Nations peoples in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991.5 And it's the search for this truth that led to the Bringing Them Home report in 1997, which led to the apology to the Stolen Generations.6
That truth is the bedrock of our path forward to a fairer and more just future for everyone, whether you've been here for 5 years, 5 generations or 5000 generations.
As a movement, we have a vision of a nation that is driven towards justice for First Nations peoples that is grounded in the truth of our shared story. We won't shy away from the full history of this country — we will achieve justice for First Nations people.
That work starts today — add your name to the thousands of people demanding a national truth and justice commission.
|Sign the petition!|
Because with truth, we can stop the desecration of our sacred sites. With truth, we can have meaningful treaties. With truth, we can achieve justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Larissa, Nicole, Amy and Edie and the whole GetUp team
 Rosalie Kunoth-Monks appears on Q&A responding to Peter Coleman's critique of John Pilger's documentary film 'Utopia' and that assimilation is not the answer, ABC. 5 November 2014.
 Victoria launches truth commission into ongoing effect of violent colonisation on Aboriginal people, The Guardian. 9 March 2021.
 Federal government hasn't 'got the guts' for truth-telling about Australia's history, Dodson claims, WA Today. 17 March 2021.
 Senate blocks treaty and truth telling inquiry, ABC. 17 March 2021.
 Third Indigenous death in custody in one week, NIT. 11 March 2021.
 Illawarra's Stolen Generations mark National Apology but worry Koori kids still taken off country, ABC. 19 February 2021.
All First Nations work at Getup is led by a team of campaigners from the Widjabul Wia-bul, Garawa, Gooreng Gooreng, Wiradjuri and Noongar nations.