Book Review: Finding the Heart of the Nation by Thomas Mayor
Willow Aliento | 23 January 2020
Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth is an opportunity to sit in stillness and listen to the voices of the oldest human culture on this planet.
Torres Strait Islander man Thomas Mayor together with First Nations voices from across the continent unfold the journey of collaboration, consultation and dialogue that lies behind and within the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The book explains the evolution of the statement, and the artwork on which it is depicted. It also narrates the progress of the statement around Aboriginal communities and how it reflects and engages with individual communities and their needs, story and aspirations.
In a spirit of hope, strength and truth-telling, the personal stories of Aboriginal teachers, healthcare professionals, community leaders, artists, parents, land managers, union members, care workers and others are interwoven with the narratives of communities navigating profound questions of identity, history, belonging and empowerment.
While some names will be familiar, many of those sharing their experience have been living and working beyond the usual sphere of mainstream media interest. This adds to the importance of the book in aiding non-Indigenous Australia in understanding the complexity of this land’s First Nations and the challenges imposed by Colonial systems and policies.
These are Indigenous voices unmediated by colonial narrators, speaking from the heart to reach the hearts of readers.
It is also a beautiful book – tactile, visual and highly crafted.
To understand the importance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the broader context of the struggle of Aboriginal people towards justice, recognition and respect, read this book.
To learn about how the many Aboriginal Nations of Australia are navigating a path towards collective action and voice, read this book.
To recognise why Australia Day is deeply problematic as a national exercise, read this book.
To discover the emotional, intellectual and cultural strength of Aboriginal people, read this book.
It is an act of extraordinary literary and artistic grace, that helps map out a pathway to how the wrongs that sit at the heart of Australia’s social and political systems can begin to be righted.
The publisher is Hardie Grant Travel.