Walking Together as First and Second Peoples

All I want for Christmas

NAIDOC theme 2019

By Stuart McMillan, Advocate for the Walking Together as First and Second Peoples Circle

Well, I have my two front teeth, thanks to the mouth guard I wore when playing Rugby.

Seriously though, what is it that this Circle might hope for? How might the advent of Christ, the ever-present Immanuel, cause us to spur one another to love and good deeds? What might those deeds be?

Advent is to wait and to anticipate. For our circle, in our walking together, is this not for Second Peoples to learn something of the waiting and anticipating of the First Peoples?

This waiting can be costly.  Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, addressing the President’s Conference in Darwin in 2017 said: “It is no longer good enough for you Second Peoples to stand with us. No you are called to suffer with us.”

This month, our newsletter includes the Submission which came out of the deliberative process of the Constitutional Convention at Uluru. It was this process which led to consensus on the way forward for this country – starting with a First Nations Voice.

How do we as individuals walk with and wait with the UAICC and other First Peoples, in hope, that this very moderate ask will become a reality in our constitution? A reality that would mark both the maturing of our nation and a recognition of the co-existent sovereignty of the First Nation Peoples of Australia.

What actions, even costly actions, can we take in our local area? How might we give voice to this matter of justice in the lead up to the Federal election?

Next year’s National Aborigines and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) theme is: Voice, Treaty, Truth.

How can we encourage truth telling in our local context?

A story set in Bethlehem has for over 2000 years captured the imaginations of so many and given hope. This story doesn’t ignore truth telling – the lack of hospitality, the humble beginnings for this special one and even a plot to get rid of this child, who would according to the Hebrew Scriptures, would become king. What then are the local stories in your place for First Peoples?

This year’s Christmas Bowl theme is: Love Thy Neighbour. Taken from Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbour, as yourself.” The question some asked of Jesus was: “Who is my neighbour?”

We know love of neighbour can be costly. To love the refugee looking for safety when many say we should send them offshore, to love our Muslim neighbours when others seek to alienate them or to love our Aboriginal or Islander brothers and sisters when people say they should forget the past and move on. We call for a Voice and encourage truth telling knowing that around the world it’s been truth telling that has enabled healing and reconciliation.

It was a costly thing for the Divine Creator to take on human form in order for love to make a way. I pray this Advent and Christmas season, walking together as First and Second Peoples, the love of the God will be shared by the children of God, one and all.

All I want for Christmas is for love to make a way in the lives of so many who suffer and especially for First Peoples, a Voice.

I pray for you and your loved ones; the presence and peace of Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

Marrkapmirri, Stu

Marrkapmirri means deep affection, love as with a brother or sister.