Australian Catholic University in making this Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation draws its inspiration from the historic message of Pope John Paul II to the Indigenous peoples and the Australian Catholic Church in Alice Springs on 29 November 1986. To Indigenous peoples, he said:
"For thousands of years you have lived in this land and fashioned a culture that endures to this day.....Your culture which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages must never be lost".
To all Australians Pope John Paul II said:
"What can now be done to remedy the deeds of yesterday must not be put off till tomorrow....The establishment of a new society for Aboriginal people cannot go forward without just and mutually recognised agreements with regard to these human problems, even though their causes lie in the past. The greatest value to be achieved by such agreements, which must be implemented without causing new injustices, is respect for the dignity and the growth of the human person".
We at Australian Catholic University wish to state our support for the Australian reconciliation process by acknowledgement that:
the Indigenous peoples of Australia are the original inhabitants of this country;
the imposition of Non-Indigenous settlement has had and continues to have a devastating impact on the lives and cultures of Indigenous peoples;
the effects of dispossession and loss of their cultures are ongoing and significant.
In view of this reality, Australian Catholic University makes a commitment to the following goals:
each campus will endeavour to involve the Indigenous people of the region in the life of the University;
each year the University through its campuses will recognise Indigenous culture with activities involving the University community;
the University through its policies and practices will encourage greater participation of Indigenous people in tertiary education;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives will be integral to the curriculum of the University;
the University will join with other universities and institutions of higher education to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Title: Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation