A group of First Nations people from around the country have gathered in Canberra to contest the constitutional convention held at Uluru last month.
23 Jun 2017 - 2:18 PM  UPDATED 30 Jun 2017 - 1:52 PM

Meeting on the grounds of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra the group said the process of the twelve regional dialogues and the constitutional convention held in Uluru last month was flawed. 

They said it was an attempt to manufacture consent for constitutional recognition, and that too many Indigenous groups were left out of the conversation. 

Sean Sandow, a Ghungalu man from Central Queensland, travelled from Rockhampton. 

"A lot of us grassroots Murris from Rockhamption (and Central Queensland) weren't involved in the dialogues that were held in the lead-up to the conference at Uluru, so we're in opposition to it," he told NITV News. 

He said he's against constitutional recognition. 

"As far as I'm concerned this is an illegal government, operating under an illegal constitution. I don't agree with decisions that have been made by the minority group and those people on the Referendum Council. They don't have our mandate and a lot of people in Rockhampton are pretty upset about it." 

The Uluru convention saw more than 250 delegates from around the country gather in the Red Centre to come to a consensus on constitutional recognition. 

After three days, the forum came to a final position that rejected symbolic recognition and instead called for an Indigenous voice to be enshrined in the Constitution, and a process established working towards treaties. 

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But Clayton Simpson, a Gamilaraay man from northern New South Wales, said the Uluru Statement is a meaningless proposal. 

"I think we really need to treaty amongst ourselves first as blackfellas, because we have to remember our creators gave us our first treaties on how to live with each other. I think we need to treaty amongst ourselves first, then look at treating with the settler state," he told NITV News.  

He said the use of the word makarrata in the Uluru statement is not appropriate. 

"They're calling for a makarrata, a makarrata is a Yolgnu word for coming together after a struggle, and if we look at the statistics who's in the struggle? We're still in a struggle." 

The group marched from the Tent Embassy up to Parliament House in a show of opposition to the Uluru Statement and rejection to constitutional recogition.

It follows a walk-out by a group of delegates of the forum in Uluru, claiming it was a flawed process. 

At least seven delegates from Victoria and Dubbo, along with a large group of supporters, walked out from the Referendum Council’s talks on constitutional recognition, claiming the process was fraught with danger.

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The Referendum Council responded to the walk out saying that the process had been “a hard journey”, but it was still an important one.

Jedda Patten, a Gunai woman from Lakes Entrance in Victoria, said the conversation needs to continue. 

"We talked about what to from here, we've had different age groups talking and Elders were strongly supporting our young ones through this yarn. We called this from sovereignty and we want to continue that," she told NITV News. 

She said it's important for younger generations to carry on the fight. 

"We are the next generation that's coming through, and we need make sure we have the right information and our resources are being put through from our elders so that we can take on that leadership and advocacy." 

The group is calling on all Australians to work with First Nations peoples to ensure they're voices are heard.

- Images courtesy of Ellie Gilbert 

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