Warning: this video contains strong language.
Nayuka Gorrie is a youth worker, campaigner and proud Gunai, Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. You wouldn’t think that a 25-year-old Aboriginal woman with liberal politics, who spends her days in trendy areas of Melbourne would have much in common with people like Andrew Bolt or Cory Bernadi. But Nayuka herself has made the comparison – all three don’t want Indigenous constitutional recognition. Instead, Nayuka wants a treaty.
She is one of a number of Aboriginal people who don’t think that rewriting the constitution is the right move. While it would formally acknowledge the long-standing existence of Indigenous people on this land, Nayuka says, it raises the point that it would be within a system that majority of black Australians are against.
Nayuka favors a treaty for the following reasons:
“A treaty forces you to see me as an equal with a separate identity and culture, that has existed for tens of thousands of years.
Recogniton asks for me to be seen by you in a colonial system that I don’t want to legitimise… F*** that.”
According to Nayuka's personal beliefs, a treaty is a progressive step toward something "real and tangible" for Indigenous Australians. It would provide a basis for self-government, give a better protection of Indigenous rights and importantly, claim sovereignty and allow for independence. Constitutional recognition, however, is merely symbolic in her eyes. “Nice, [but] misguided," she says "and does f*** all.”
Nayuka explains why she believes constitutional recognition is detrimental by using a creative share house as a metaphor.
"Imagine for a moment you’re living in this sick share house; you have rules, you have food, and you all pay rent on time.
“Then suddenly, some random starts rocking up and using your s*** and utilities. After 228 years, you’re like, ‘hey bro, can we talk about that time you moved in and didn’t ask?’" she says.
"They’ve made themselves so comfortable that your only choice is to ask them to sign onto the lease. But instead this housemate says they’ll recognise you and they’ll ask all their friends which way would be the best way to do it.”
As the metophorical unwelcome guest is asking all their friends how to keep their new housemates happy, Nayuka raises concerns that the wider community’s opinion will dominate the voices of the few who originally owned the property – those who are most affected by the issue.
She says, “Even if every single black Australian voted against constitutional recognition, we still wouldn’t have the numbers to outvote the rest of the country, who are being told to vote ‘yes’".
"Democracy is tops, but I can’t see any point in any political action that disempowers people in the process, without any meaningful outcomes. What would be even more tops, would be maybe to just ask us what we want to do."
Her video essay ultimately aims to get across the message that whether individual Indigenous peoples support constitutional recognition or not, the rest of the nation needs to acknowledge the voice of First Nations peoples - in all their diversity - before calling the shots.