Truth-telling: a two-part exploration

Online presentation as part of SOFiA’s 2021 AGM
3pm, Saturday, 19 June 2021
Sojourn at the Bunya Mountains, Queensland
Monday 18 – Thursday 21 October, 2021


The Yolngu of north-west Arnhem Land have a word for the process of justly and peacefully resolving conflict: Makarrata. The 2017 Uluru Statement From the Heart has called for Makarrata to help achieve “a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.”

Key to this process is truth-telling. Most non-Indigenous people in Australia grew up knowing little about the First Australians, and much of what they did know was either inaccurate or untrue. Aboriginal people themselves were prevented from engaging in – and even, often enough, from knowing about – their own cultural practices. What is the truth about Indigenous experience and history on this land, and how can we learn and faithfully convey it?

SOFiA members and other interested friends are invited to take part in two upcoming events in 2021:

  • SOFiA’s 2021 AGM (June 19, online, starts 2pm) will feature guest speaker Thomas Mayor (~3pm) addressing the topic of truth-telling ( more information below).
  • A residential sojourn at Queensland’s Bunya Mountains (Mon 18 – Thurs 21 October) will focus on the truth about the experience and history of the First Australians. It will involve local Murri people sharing their knowledge, and an excursion to the Ration Shed Museum at Cherbourg is planned.

The details for the online Zoom meeting on June 19 will be advertised in the June edition of SOFiA’s e-newsletter (available to view here in due course).

Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander man who lives on Larrakia Country in Darwin. A father of five children, he is a wharfie and union official for the Maritime Union of Australia. He has tirelessly advocated for the proposals in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and is the author of two bestselling books. His first book, Finding the Heart of the Nation: The journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth, tells his own story, the story of the Uluru Statement, and the stories of the remarkable people he met on his campaigning journey. A children’s version, Finding Our Heart, was published in June 2020. At the same time as releasing this book, he released his latest children’s book, Freedom Day: Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill Walk-Off, published by Bright Light.

Thomas will speak about the history behind Voice Treaty Truth, and why they are the key proposals made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He will share the importance of Voice to both treaty-making and especially truth-telling. He will also give an update on the Uluru Statement campaign, and what actions can be taken.

Please note: We are currently seeking expressions of interest for the October Bunya Mountains trip so we can arrange accommodation. If you are interested, please let us know by email ( by Friday, June 11, 2021.

Some relevant internet links