Brooke Boney has encouraged non-Indigenous Australians to look to their history and come to understand their own privilege, coming to terms with the countries history of oppression. She also appeared on the Today show to echo Gladys Berejiklian‘s wishes to change the national anthem to better reflect First Nations people.

At an event celebrating NAIDOC week in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, Gamilaroi woman Brooke Boney gave a speech as the chair of the event, highlighting her wishes for non-Indigenous people to help move the country forward. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be (Aboriginal Land)’.

Boney identified that she would like non-Indigenous people “to go back through their own family history and see how their family has benefited from the oppression of Black people.”

“If everyone did that, we might have a better chance of moving forward,” she said.

Amongst the panel of speakers was Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman Teela Reid, who mentioned that non-Indigenous people cannot look at the history of Australia as one that was peaceful.

“We have to be very mindful, as a nation, that we have not gone on a journey of truth-telling, and that journey would be a dialogue between non-Indigenous and First Nations people,” Reid said.

“That’s a sign of maturity. We are not expected to feel good, because the truth is that our history is one of bloodshed. Confronting the truth is an uncomfortable process.”

On Wednesday, Boney spoke on the Today show with Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon about the changing of the Australian national anthem. This echoed the words of Gladys Berejiklian, who proposed changing “young and free” to “one and free”, to better represent how young Indigenous kids are still being disproportionately imprisoned.

Source: Today

“I get sick of having these discussions and people throw their toys out of the cot and we can’t have a mature and sensible reaction to our future as a nation,” said Brooke Boney.

“We are not young and free when every kid in a Northern Territory juvenile facility is Black.

“It doesn’t pay tribute to the fact that this is the home – all of us are a part of this incredible legacy of the oldest continuous culture of anywhere in the world. If we can’t recognise it in our anthem, then where can we recognise that?”

Image: Getty Images / Don Arnold