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Big Group Meeting Minutes – Friday 21 May 2021

21 May 2021

Location – The Dreamtime Cultural Centre, Rockhampton 4701

Attendees – Kadie Askov, Megan Malone, Carol Walker, Melissa Levi, Health Daley, George James, Thalep Ahmat, Barry Jard, Mick Gooda, Delilah MacGillivray, Frances Comollatti, James Mundy and Peta Steedman, Stella Doyle, Danielle Gillespie and Zhanae Dodd

 Meeting Opened – Mick Gooda opened the meeting at 12.05pm

Acknowledgement of Country – Mick Gooda acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and the ancestors of those who were sitting around the table

Meeting Overview – Mick Gooda explained that this meeting would take place slightly differently to those in the past, instead we would all sit around the table and yarn about what we want to see happen with this group, what action would be taken and how we would go about that.

Round table introductions: Uncle Mick Gooda went around the table and asked everyone to introduce themselves. Many topics and knowledge came to the forefront during introductions:

  • Many of the elders around the table acknowledged that they held knowledge which they wanted to pass down to the next generation. They expressed that they did not feel their job was done and they could not step back until they had passed on their knowledge. They see that it is time for the next generation to step in however we need to figure out how to facilitate these old ways of teaching in a modern environment.
  • There was talk about how cultural ways have always been passed down and that we need to ensure it continues.
  • Education of our people around culture
  • A handful of people expressed their interest and passion around youth justice in relation to our mob/ the justice system in general.
  • Wanting mob to have the motivation and the drive to keep making change as elders pass the baton on, they feel it isn’t the same motivation as it has been in the past.
  • Want to have young people being connected to their mob and elders, establishing pathways to do this for the young people who do not know so that they too can be connected. Elders to link in with young people, lead in right direction and connect them up to mob.
  • Linking elders with young people
  • Re-defining self-determination and what that looks like for us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Voice, treaty, truth

Uncle Mick Gooda talked about how it is important that QLD and Central Queensland have a voice through local decision making.

  • It was agreed that it is important for Central Queensland Indigenous people to have a voice through the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Meetings, Big Group Meeting
  • It was talked about whether we need a legislative voice and/or a constitutionally enshrined voice. There was a lot of talk around which one we should be aiming for first and the challenges which came along with it. Mick Gooda supported a legislative voice and Delilah supported a constitutionally enshrined voice
  • The Uluru Statement from the Heart and the meaningfulness of working from this was brought up. It was talked about that treaty advancement was vital for the truth telling process
  • The question was posed, what will our voice look like? Should just Darumbal people be leading these meetings and conversations as a truly place based initiative or is it appropriate to have local Indigenous people who are from other mobs, lead the conversation as well.
  • We acknowledged that there is a need for representative bodies to be formed through the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Meetings platform and that it must be separately identified that there are Traditional Owners, Native Title Holders, and Indigenous people from mobs all around Australia living in this area. Therefore, we must be making decisions that are inclusive for all of our mob. Government wants to know who to talk to and we should be providing that contact. We need to set up dual committees so that we have equal representation of all mobs and people, not just Native Title bodies. There must be two bodies present when talking to Government – both a Darumbal body and a Non-Darumbal Indigenous body. This needs to be an elected process, a constitution, so that we can be in a position where we can come together and vote to carry it across.
  • Once our voice is enshrined in the constitution it cannot be changed, if we have a voice enshrined in legislation then it can be easily changed with a change of Government.
  • We still need to negotiate these systems and we need to bring an amalgamation of groups together so that we can be united as one voice, liaise together, and make decisions together.
  • Elder’s voices and guidance needs to be listened to, they are saying that we don’t want a divided community, that we want everyone to come together, this is the way forward.

Passing down knowledge and passing on the baton 

  • What does our pathway forward look like as the next generation?
  • There are currently no Indigenous people represented in our councils or mainstream groups but when we are represented in these spaces, how do we support our mob with knowledge, stories and dreaming.
  • The next, up and coming generation wants a clear pathway to becoming a leader for our mob. They want this laid out by the elders and a clear trajectory of what we as one mob want.
  • It feels like organisations don’t want our mob on Government boards, and when we are on boards it does feel quite tokenistic, to an extent. An example of this is when it happened in the Northern Territory. People’s voices were being taken away or weren’t being heard by Government and the effects were shown through education systems, youth justice and other systematic organisations and sectors.
  • There needs to be inclusive participation
  • How do we teach leadership effectively, Elders are wanting the next generations to realise that leadership is not a title, you can lead from anywhere.

Moving Forward

  • Another meeting is needed so that we can talk further about the issues/ concerns raised and
  • While most of us belong to an organisation, we cannot come into the room with those hats on, we must remove those hats and come as a community member.
  • Next meeting will focus on what our voice looks like in terms of forming appropriate groups
  • Make next meeting closer in date then we previously have
  • Everyone to bring a friend with them to the next meeting