The three elements of the theme ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ refer to key reforms articulated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.
According to National NAIDOC Co-Chair Pat Thompson, for generations Indigenous Australians have campaigned for their unique place in Australian history and society to be officially recognised. She says “(t)he 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people – we need to be the architects of our lives and futures.”
National NAIDOC Co Chair John Paul Janke also believes 2019 presents a unique opportunity to hear this nation’s Indigenous voice with the year being celebrated as the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The 2019 theme affirms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ long term aspiration to achieve an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democratic institutions.
This year’s theme also refers to the Uluru Statement’s call for a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations people, as well as a process of truth-telling about Indigenous history.
As stated by the Co-Chairs: “The history of our First Peoples is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and we need to own it – hearing this history is necessary before we can come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides.”