Our Quaker testimonies call us to actively be in right relationship with all peoples. In harmony with our testimonies, Quakers are committed to bearing witness to ensure fairness and equality for First Nations People for so long as they choose this course. As Quakers we are learning how to uphold First Nations’ Peoples and their descendants in Australia, in our joint ongoing journey towards justice.
A testimony to social justice and racial equality has been part of the Quaker witness to the world since the inception of our Religious Society of Friends in Britain in the 17th century. In 1691 William Penn signed a treaty of friendship with the Delaware tribes of First Nations American Peoples, arranging for fair payments for lands taken. John Woolman, in 1756 persuaded Quakers in Philadelphia to pay for land stolen from the First Nations American Peoples by others.
In the 19th century, two British Friends, James Backhouse and George Washington Walker travelled through the Australian colonies and were forthright in their statements to influential figures in Australia and Britain concerning the cruelty and injustice meted to the Australian Aboriginal People, especially urging payment for land taken from them. (From paragraph 5.22 of this we can say; Australian Quaker life, faith and thought, 2003.)
Today, we long for and are working towards a reconciled Australia, believing that the coming into right relationship between First Peoples, the original custodians of the land, and other Australians is fundamental to an inclusive non-violent, Australian society.
Friends involvement in the reconciliation process
- First Nations Peoples Concerns Committee
Quaker Service Australia
QSA assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia to implement projects that are endorsed by and will benefit their local community. Funding is possible through the Quaker Service Australia Aboriginal Concerns Fund
Vigil for Aboriginal Justice
Held in Melbourne (VIC) every month on the steps of the GPO
Friends resources for the reconciliation process
Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Referendum
Accepted by Yearly Meeting 2017 this Statement encourages Friends to bring these words to life and to share it with all we meet.
Ways Foward for Quakers and Other Concerned Australians to Support First Nations Peoples
Adopted by Australian Quakers at Yearly Meeting 2015
Coming Right Way: 'doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly' in Australia by Susannah Brindle (Published in 2002 as part of the Emu Feathers Series.)
'Anyone, anywhere can "Come Right Way". If "Reconciliation" is about coming into right relationship with Aboriginal Peoples, "Coming Right Way" is an important pre-condition of this process.’