First Nations people have fought for real, material, system change for 250+ years and this will continue beyond the Voice referendum.
Non-indigenous people must listen deeply and find ways to support the resistance on-the-ground. Some of those ways are listed below.
Please get in contact with us via [email protected] if you have suggestions to add to this list of groups.
The months leading up to the Referendum will see heightened national attention on First Nations Peoples. Friends of the Earth will use our platforms and community microphones to amplify the diversity of struggles for justice led by First Nations Peoples, and direct our members and broader community to work they can support by donating their time, money and other resources.
Struggles for justice - including for Treaty, Sovereignty, self-determination of communities, rejecting community intervention and income management, land back and land management, funding communities not prisons (and connected fights to stop Blak deaths in custody, raise the age of criminal responsibility and get young people out of detention), preserving First Nations languages and culture, and keeping children on country and with their families - are long-waged battles against the colonial state by First Nations Peoples that will continue on after the Voice Referendum.
Here are some First Nations-run groups working for justice across many fronts (including climate and environmental protection, workers rights, and reversing incarceration rates) that we encourage people to learn about and support
- Pay the Rent
- Dhadjowa Foundation
- SEED Mob
- Wangan & Jagalingou
- Original Power
- First Nations Clean Energy Cooperative
- First Nations Workers Alliance
- Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective
- Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
- Sisters Inside
- Grandmothers Against Removals
- Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance - WAR
- Aboriginal Tent Embassy
- Brisbane Aboriginal-Sovereign Embassy
- Barngarla people campaign
Lots of work has been done by First Nations people across the country to flesh out the complexities of the 'Yes' and 'No' positions.
If people are interested in engaging directly with the Referendum campaigns and debate, here are some ways they can participate and learn:
- Passing the Message Stick webinar (2 hours). Includes requested messaging to use (and not use) in the lead up to the Referendum, and regarding First Nations struggles in general. This is what has informed GetUp's 'Yes AND' campaign position. Here is the PDF report for further reading if you want.
- Uluru Statement from the Heart
- Black People's Union statement on the Referendum (longer statement on their website)
- Treaty Before Voice: We Deserve More than Constitutional Recognition
- Critical and Cultural: Naidoc Day Yarn
- Sovereign Union: First Nations Asserting Sovereignty
- Statement from the Blak Sovereign Movement
We have compiled a list below of diverse First Nations perspectives on the Voice, including articulations of the Black ‘No’ arguments:
It’s easy to imagine a single Yes / No dichotomy with progressives on one side and conservatives on the other, but I think this is a gross oversimplification. https://t.co/vXwJ4p8f6h pic.twitter.com/meBtmDoJsY— IndigenousX (@IndigenousX) February 25, 2023
Beyond "Yes" and "No"
Support for The Voice
Simple Explainer: The Referendum on Constitutional Recognition
Critiques of The Voice
Uluru Statement from the Heart Walkout Video
Lydia Thorpe Interview: Prioritising Truth-Telling and Treaty, Prior to Any Parliamentary Voice
Marianne Yoorgabilya Mackay: No to the Voice of Parliament
Non-Indigenous Writer Tom Tanuki, shares some grassroots perspectives & calls out media: Indigenous arguments against the Voice exist — but the media is hiding them
Mervyn Eades speaks with WAMN News explaining why they want Treaty not Voice
For learnings about the previous Referendum: Gary Foley on the 1967 Referendum
For more context here is a history of FoE's First Nations Solidarity