On the anniversary of the 1967 national referendum when Australia voted ‘yes’ to giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians a status in the constitution – the highly topical question of sovereignty takes centre stage at the Sydney Opera House, for the first annual Homeground Talks.
The first panel, 'Unfinished Paperwork: Recognition and Sovereignty' questions whether we'll see Australia grant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people complete constitutional recognition, engage in a treaty or something else entirely. The panel will be chaired by Indigenous academic Dr Romaine Moreton and will feature Tame Iti, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM and Michael Mansell.
A Maori activist and artist, Tame Iti's ability to court controversy has made him a common feature in New Zealand news media. Iti was a founding member of the Maori Liberation Front and the Tent Embassy in Wellington in the 1970s, and continues to be a powerful advocate for the Maori community.
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, the 2015 NAIDOC Person of the Year has devoted her life to Indigenous issues and to defending her people's traditional way of life. Her career began with the lead role in the classic Australian film Jedda and she has gone on to become a leading advocate in the area of Indigenous health, housing and education.
The Tasmanian lawyer, Michael Mansell has helped to shape both the Tasmanian and Federal governments legislation on Indigenous policies throughout the 1990's. He has long campaigned for reforms that would see an Aboriginal law system operating parallel with the white legal system and currently his focus is with the Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG), which stands for sovereignty, issuing passports and birth certificates.
The second panel: 'Open for Business: Diverse Economies in First Nations' centres in on the media focus and public attention on new economies in First Nations communities. While most of the most of the public discussion is on mining income, a panel of influential artists and academics including David Bridie, John Faunt, Marcia Langton AM and Amelia Telford will present their compelling arguments for less-publicised economies.
Seven time ARIA award-winning songwriter and composer David Bridie has developed, alongside respected PNG musician Airileke Ingram, the Wantok Musik Foundation. The not-for-profit music label aims to generate and foster various cultural exchanges between Indigenous Australia and Melanesia by recording, releasing and promoting music from the region.
John Faunt is an advocate and musician from Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, whose work aims to preserve and showcase his traditional Manus Island heritage. Faunt consults widely on Papua New Guinea and Manus Island culture, advising major brands, film companies and charities.
Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies in the for Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne, Marcia Langton AM is an authority on social issues concerning Aboriginal people. Langton was active during the Women's Liberation movement, drawing attention to the oppression of black women and was awarded the Order of Australia in 1993, for her service as an anthropologist and advocate of Aboriginal issues.
Amelia Telford, a young Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from Bundjalung country, is the National Director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. In her work, Amelia supports a national network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people building a movement for climate justice to protect country and be a part of creating positive change for our people.
The panels will run at 5.00pm and at 7.15pm on Friday 27 May at the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are available for purchase at their website.