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A reflection for NAIDOC Week by Alison Overeem

A call to krakani (sit) at the patrula (fire)

waranta (we) see the flicker in every flame from our warriors, past, present and future.

Our ancestors’ stories sit with each flame,
waranta (we) are a UAICC takarilya (family)
tapalti (go) to the patrula (fire) and reignite the Covenant,
in every day, in every way as we work, live & pray.

In unity with all that was and is.
All that says ‘this is the gift to the wider church and beyond.
This is not an invitation, it’s a creator bond.

May this NAIDOC week – with the fires burning, be the action for weaving and unweaving, learning and unlearning.

May we hold the ancient stories of these unceded lands, in all we do. May we be warmed by the wisdom, the struggle, and the survival.  May the action be a raising of First Peoples voices, a covenant, a campfire sharing revival.

Creator call us to these ancient stories,
call us to the covenant and keep the fires burning.
Creator, lead us to every campfire, every story, every thread,
a call where the covenant is First Peoples led.

Keep the fires burning.
Creators call us to see, feel and be,
all that is this country’s, true history.

Truth telling campfires,
truth acceptance campfires,
cultural safety campfires,
justice campfires.
self determination campfires

Keep the fires burning

As the anniversary of the Covenant*. Preamble** and this year’s NAIDOC theme, flicker in the flames of the fire together. May the action of truth telling warm our takila (heart)
A way forward,
A way to be,
A way to set this Nation free.

Keep the campfires burning
Be in and with – First Peoples learning.

waranta (we) will lakapawa (see) you all at the campfires

Written by Alison Overeem (Smith)

* On 10 July 2024, the Uniting Church will mark 30 years since the signing of the Covenant statement between the United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA).

** It will be 15 years this year since the revised Preamble to the Constitution of the Uniting Church was agreed to at the 12th UCA Assembly (July, 2009). Paragraph 3 recognises that the Creator Trinity was already in the Creation prior to the arrival of the colonisers. It affirms that the Spirit was sent by the inner Trinitarian Community outwards to the creation revealing the economy of God to the people in law and custom, and traditional ceremony. Although the world came to be through Christ, God’s love and grace was not finally and fully revealed until the living Christ, who had sustained the First Peoples, came to live among the people and his ongoing presence continues to give them particular insights to the way of the Triune God.
The Preamble to the Constitution states that “As the Church believes God guided it into union so it believes that God is calling it to continually seek a renewal of its life as a community of all First Peoples and of Second Peoples from many lands”.