“I have a dream”. When Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this speech Australia had a long way to come. Now we have travelled further than a lot of people thought we would have, although we still have a long way to go. As a non-Indigenous person, I want to be a part of that change, I want to make this Australia better for those to come. “I have a dream”, I also have a dream, a dream for a reconciled future, where everyone, First Nations people or not, understands our shared past, an understanding of our First Nations people and an understanding of how to make progress. This is a dream I hope multiple people throughout our country have. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin…” and I share this dream with him, I have a dream that the children of this country will no longer make assumptions about someone because of the colour of another person’s skin. That my Aboriginal brother will not be growing up in Australia where he’ll be judged, criticized, and attacked because his skin is a few shades darker than mine. “I have a dream”, a dream that one day he will be able to learn about his culture, his language, and his history from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s perspective. The culture he shares with many will be taught in schools all around Australia. “I have a dream” a dream that there is no us and them, that we are equal, equal opportunities, equal respect, equal incarceration rates and equal hope. “I have a dream”, my dream is that the gap is closed, Australia’s past is uncovered and we, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, can embody the concept of “Makarrata” and walk together after a struggle for a more reconciled and just future.
Artist Statement: In “A Dream of “Makarrata”: Walking Together for a Better Future” I express my shared dream with Martin Luther King Jr. a dream for a reconciled future in Australia where everyone, regardless of their background, understands our shared past and how to make progress. I dream of an Australia where there is no “us and them,” and where we are all equal in terms of opportunities, respect, incarceration rates, and hope. I dream of an Australia where the gap is closed, and the country’s past is uncovered. I hope that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians can embody the Yolngu word, mentioned in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, “Makarrata” which means coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs, and living again in peace. Like Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that the children of this country will no longer make assumptions about someone because of the colour of another person’s skin. I hope that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture will be taught in schools all around Australia.
To me, reconciliation means acknowledging the past injustices and ongoing inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since colonisation. It means recognising and respecting the First Peoples of this land and committing to working towards a more equal and respectful future. Reconciliation is about improving the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, through addressing inequity of opportunity, enhancing recognition of cultural identity, and building respect. It is a journey towards a just, equitable, and reconciled Australia, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will have the same life chances and choices as non-Indigenous children, and the length and quality of a person’s life will not be determined by their racial background. Reconciliation is everyone’s responsibility, and it requires active support from the nation’s political, business, and community leaders.
Artist: Ellie Wentworth Brown