Acknowledgement of Country

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The Salvation Army South Barwon acknowledges that we meet on land for which the Wathaurong people are the traditional owners and custodians. We pay respect to their Elders, past and present.

The Salvation Army in Australia acknowledges the hurt and pain sustained by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the loss of their land, their children, their communities, their cultures, and their languages. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are comprised of numerous distinct and different cultures, each with its own unique history, beliefs and values. We recognise all of these people groups among the First Nation people of Australia and therefore will include all in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ministry endeavours.

The Salvation Army is committed to playing its part in redressing the wrongs done and to challenge policies and processes that fail to observe principles of social inclusion.

The Salvation Army Statement of Reconciliation

We recognise that Australia’s indigenous people have sustained grievous and unacceptable discrimination throughout these latter years of their vast history- as from the time of white settlement.

That the original inhabitants of this land have been denied the full extent of their birthright in terms of personal dignity, adequate health, and a place to “grow.”

That the nation has not adequately addressed the issues which give rise to the custody of some aboriginal people, nor the full impact of such custody on those concerned.

That, all too often, good intentions and integrity of purpose by Australian governments have been negated by a failure to acknowledge the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, to consult with them in the decision making processes, and to understand the cultures and customs which impact upon legislation passed “in their best interests.” The separation of indigenous children from their families is a case in point.

We Affirm:

  • The right of ALL Australians to harmonious, peaceful co-existence, free from stigma, discrimination, and racism.
  • The right of ALL Australians to maintain cultural identity within the wider Australian community and law.
  • The right of Aboriginal people to regard their affinity with the land as sacred and, where possible, to secure native titles.
  • The right of ALL Australians to the dignity of citizenship, provision of adequate health care, equality in educational standards and facilities, opportunity to full employment, availability of adequate housing, the sense of belonging to “community”

We Pledge:

  • To listen to the voice of suffering, rejection, loss and despair, to acknowledge past failures, and to resolve to work together for the good of all Australians.
  • To learn from our past, and to activate an effective response to inequality, marginalization, and discrimination.
  • To endorse cultural identity, to be enriched by it, and to encourage the full expression of same.
  • To encourage a respect that is mutual, a harmony that is healing, and seek a joint commitment to work together towards the achievement of the reconciliation of our peoples.
  • To respect the heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and to encourage this heritage to be valued and utilised effectively as an integral part of Australia’s shared wealth.
  • To aid our indigenous people in their struggle against racism in its every guise and to be accepted in their own right as citizens of this land.

We will work together towards the healing of the wounds of the past and promote the ideals expressed in this statement as we move towards a shared future in the ongoing reconciliation process.

3 June 2008