Core Value 2: Aboriginal Solidarity.
Acknowledgement of Country
The 2014 Students of Sustainability collective recognises that law holders of this country’s first peoples never ceded sovereignty or their authority to any state or corporate entity. We pay our respect to the descendants of these law holders on the land where SOS is held. We also acknowledge the elders past and present who continue to own, practice and share their unique knowledge and connection to country.
A core value of the conference is to learn from the experience and wisdom of these elders. To achieve this the 2014 collective, is working closely with long-time supporters of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.
We believe that engagement between the Aboriginal Rights and Student Environment movements should be considered according to the words of the Queensland Aboriginal Activist groups of the 1970’s:"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
ANU Environment Collective Statement of intent, regarding building relationships with First peoples in our region
As students from diverse backgrounds, living in this land, we recognise that our society originated with acts of colonial violence and exclusion that continue today. We realise, also, that we have been deceived by our educational and public institutions regarding our colonial history, and further, denied access to the wealth of cultural, linguistic and ecological knowledge carried by the first peoples of this land. The extraordinary resilience of First peoples and their cultures gives us the opportunity, and the privilege, to listen first hand to their stories and to relearn a colonial history in which sovereignty has never been ceded, and the voices of first peoples have been systemically silenced.
By coming together on a regular basis to share food, music, stories, sport and language, we seek to develop relationships that will allow all of us to learn and grow. With positive energy and an openness to learning, we hope that even the most difficult and painful conversations might form part of a process of healing, in which everyone feels safe and respected.
We wish also, where possible, to give whatever kind of support we can to Aboriginal people in their struggle for recognition and sovereignty. This support might be broad and political, but more often simple and direct, such as helping with logistics at the Tent Embassy or within other organisations. We give this support without asking for anything in return, seeking to avoid imposing our own values or agenda onto these relationships. We wish to be sensitive to the cultural context in which our support is given, while acknowledging that we have much to learn, and can do so only if we are willing, sometimes, to make mistakes.