ANTaR Working With Community Towards Treaty

December 13, 2019

 by  Charles Pakana, Treaty Engagement Correspondent

In mid-2018 ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation) Victoria launched its Victorians for Treaty campaign.

According to ANTaR Victoria co-Chair Ms. Brigid Knight-Branniff, the campaign has a broad remit of addressing all Victorian Treaty issues without any bias.

Given the growing number of contentious issues – 38 Nations, sovereignty, “Treaty before Constitutional reform”, etc. – being debated, it is a remit that with distinct challenges. “The Treaty process in general is quite confusing,” Ms. Knight-Branniff said.

“It’s been about three years now and a lot of different steps have happened, and there’s still quite a lot of steps to happen. Our role is to stay unbiased. Just provide all the voices that are coming up with a platform.

“In Victoria, Aboriginal People make up about one per cent of the population, so there needs to be wider support, so non-Indigenous people play a big role in supporting Treaty.”

The need for broad support


As a non-Government and non-Aboriginal organisation, ANTaR plays a crucial role in supporting First Nations issues within the broader non-Indigenous community. Ms. Knight-Branniff stated, though, that when it comes to such topics, ANTaR seeks guidance from the Aboriginal community.

“ANTaR has been running for 21 years, and running running numerous campaigns in support of these [First Nations] organisations,” she said. “So over time we have built up the trust of Aborignal-run organisations and Aboriginal Victorians.”

Open dialogues


Hardly a surprise, a recurring topic at ANTaR events is a feeling of exclusion from the non-Indigenous community.

“Non-Indigenous people maybe don’t feel involved in the Treaty process, and that’s going to make them more likely to not support the Treaty process. So it’s good to have these open dialogues,” Ms. Knight-Branniff said.

According to Ms. Knight-Branniff, one of the most commonly asked Treaty questions from non-Indigenous people is “What can we do to help?”

Often faced with the question from non-Indigenous Victorians: “What can we do to help?” she inevitably responds: “Encourage these discussions [about Treaty] with the people you know. Support forums that are happening around you in your area.”

For more information about ANTaR Victoria and its Treaty events, contact the organisation via web: https://antarvictoria.org.au/ or phone: (03) 9483 1363.