Upholding Indigenous Women’s Voices: A Call for Truth and Empowerment

Upholding Indigenous Women's Voices: A Call for Truth and Empowerment

As June Oscar AO reflects on her seven-year tenure as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, she highlights the strength and resilience of Indigenous women, whose voices echo through generations and shape the fabric of society. In the midst of social unrest, particularly evident in places like Alice Springs, Oscar underscores the urgent need to amplify these voices and address the systemic challenges faced by Indigenous communities. Upholding Indigenous Women’s Voices: A Call for Truth and Empowerment

Through initiatives like the Wiyi Yani U Thangani – Women’s Voices – project, Oscar has engaged with thousands of Indigenous women and girls from diverse backgrounds, emphasizing their pivotal role in nurturing communities and advocating for change. From remote areas to urban centers, Indigenous women have voiced their experiences of marginalization, trauma, and economic hardship, shedding light on the urgent need for meaningful support and investment.

Despite the existence of community-led solutions, such as youth centers and culturally-based education, many struggle to receive adequate support, perpetuating cycles of inequality and disempowerment. Oscar calls for a shift towards an investment model that empowers Indigenous communities and addresses the root causes of social unrest.

Inspired by the collective triumphs of Indigenous women, Oscar announces the launch of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute and Change Agenda for First Nations Gender Justice, housed at the Australian National University. These initiatives aim to deliver practical changes on the ground and create cultural and socioeconomic conditions for Indigenous peoples to thrive.

Central to Indigenous communities is the concept of care work, encompassing tasks from nurturing children to stewarding the land. However, Oscar highlights the undervaluation of care within Australian society, pointing to growing inequalities, discrimination, and mental health challenges faced by Indigenous women.

In light of mass discontent and global movements for social change, Oscar emphasizes the importance of truth-telling and reconciliation. Despite setbacks like the recent voice referendum, which exposed vulnerabilities to misinformation, there is a growing call for dialogue and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Oscar concludes with a rallying cry for truth and unity, stressing that only through acknowledging past injustices and embracing diversity can Australia move towards a future where no one is excluded. The time is now to engage in meaningful dialogue and ensure that the nation reflects the rich tapestry of its people’s voices and aspirations.

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/apr/02/the-time-for-first-nations-truth-telling-is-now-we-cannot-let-lies-and-division-fester

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