Truth-telling and healing

Why is truth-telling and healing an important step on our Path to Treaty?

Any treaty must be based on truth. The truth about our past will help Queenslanders understand how modern Queensland came to be, but it may be difficult and traumatic. That is why truth-telling must be combined with healing.

Queenslanders have told us that they wish to hear and record the history of our state through a truth-telling and healing process. Hearing the truth about our shared histories helps us to understand how past laws, policies and practices have, and continue to, impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It also helps us to heal. It is the most important step on the Path to Treaty.

The Treaty Advancement Committee’s report recommended a two-stage approach to truth-telling and healing:

  1. local truth-telling and healing activities working with our public institutions – for example, the Queensland State Library, museums, Queensland State Archives, and art galleries
  2. a formal Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry set up under legislation, for a period of three years.

Truth-telling as part of the Path to Treaty

Queensland’s truth-telling and healing will be guided by the Path to Treaty Office, Interim Truth and Treaty Body, Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry, and the First Nations Treaty Institute.

The Interim Truth and Treaty Body will:

  • support truth-telling and healing prior to the establishment of the First Nations Treaty Institute
  • talk to Queenslanders about treaty, truth-telling and healing, and work alongside local communities to start this conversation
  • work with public institutions like the State Library, State Archives, museums and art galleries in relation to truth-telling and healing activities
  • create a plan for Queensland to build and share the rich collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s stories that exist.

The Path to Treaty Office will:

  • talk to Queenslanders about the treaty and truth-telling process as an important part of the Path to Treaty
  • support Queensland Government Departments to become treaty ready including contributing to the truth-telling and healing process
  • continue to work in partnership with our co-design working groups.

The First Nations Treaty Institute (once established) will:

  • talk to Queenslanders about truth-telling, healing and the Path to Treaty
  • provide support for truth-telling and healing
  • lead the actions and recommendations that emerge from the Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry
  • undertake and provide culturally and ethically informed research
  • support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups to develop the skills needed for treaty negotiations
  • work with the Path to Treaty Office to create a Treaty Making Framework.

The Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry (once established) will:

  • provide a public platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Queenslanders to tell their truth
  • listen to and record the stories shared
  • hold a formal and independent Inquiry into the historical and ongoing impacts of colonisation in Queensland
  • talk to Queenslanders about why the treaty process is important for a reconciled Queensland
  • inform education and develop shared understandings of First Nations cultures, histories, languages, and traditions
  • report the findings of the Inquiry to the Queensland Government
  • make recommendations to inform treaty-making.

These next steps will build community understanding of our shared history and support the process of healing for individuals, communities, and our state.  It will set out a way forward for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Queensland Government to work together towards future treaties.

Telling the truth about our past and accepting our shared histories is where healing for Queensland begins. This is the most important step on our Path to Treaty – we encourage all Queenslanders to share their history.

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