Listen: Ray Minniecon in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have called for a Makarata Commission as one way of moving closer to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Makarata is a word from the language of the Yolnu people meaning ‘coming together after a struggle’.
Similar processes have been followed in other Commonwealth countries – South Africa and Canada have both had formal Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.
Open House spoke with Ray Minniecon, an Aboriginal pastor, about the importance of finding ways to listen and hear the voices of indigenous people.
It may mean hearing some difficult perspectives.
Ray Minniecon said Aboriginal people have no difficulty in believing the Christian gospel, but said it came with unhelpful “cultural baggage” – assumptions that were not part of the gospel.
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Asked to describe the baggage, Ray said: “for us to be Christians we had to become white fellas and learn [English] in terms of communicating with our Creator.”
In the process Aboriginal people have been asked to give up their own language, culture and identity, he said.
In this interview, Ray Minniecon cautions that reconciliation can’t be a backward-looking process. Rather, it should involve the whole nation coming together to deal with the historical trauma faced by Aboriginal people.