In the past two decades we have observed an immense growth of First Nations protocols in public life. In 2008, we saw the opening of federal parliament begin with a traditional Welcome to Country and now we see acknowledgements of Country at the beginning of meetings, public rallies and the landing of aircrafts. This is an amazing turnaround for a country that found it impossible to write First Nations Australians into the constitution and that continually engaged in the systemic neglect of our sovereignty. Though we have a chance to address some of these issues in the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament, I want to draw our eye to a few cultural issues the general public may not fully understand. I don’t wish to belittle the gains of the past century and all the incredible leaders who have guided us through, but I worry we are in danger of replacing cultural perspectives with political gains.
Sometimes in the search for absolutes we lose nuance and complexity. In the search for certainty and ease of communication we seek simplification. In the search for unity and agreement we seek democratic principles over cultural ideas of eldership and collective ownership.
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