Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, Custodian of the land Minjerribah, Peace Prosperity and Healing, Sacred Treaty Circles


Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, bible, genocide, indigenous, invasion, reconciliation, sovereignty, spirituality, treaty by John T. on November 27, 2008


St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Merivale St. South Brisbane


See also – Fr. Peter Kennedy, Bejam Denis Walker and Sam Watson on the St. Mary’s treaty

The church of St. Mary’s is situated in an area that is rich in Aboriginal culture and lore and over the years, a very close affinity has developed between the church community and the local Aboriginal people. This close relationship has much to do with the character and commitment of the leadership of St. Mary’s and the respect that Aboriginal people have for places of worship.
The Aboriginal people may well have lost exclusive custodianship of many of their sacred sites; but they have never ceded their sovereignty to the invading culture and they still assert their rights as a sovereign people to this day. They also hold to the ancient Dreaming stories and rituals of their country and the ceremonies are still celebrated and observed at the appropriate time.

For their part the people of St. Mary’s have readily embraced the downtrodden and dispossessed survivors of the local tribal nations and they have continued to minister to them in the parks and open spaces across South Brisbane.

This year began with the formal apology of the Prime Minister to the Stolen Generations, that was offered with great pomp and ceremony within the federal parliament in Canberra. The apology and the spirit in which it was offered was a rare and defining moment for this nation. We have also witnessed and been a part of the

“Bridge Walks” in 2000 for Reconciliation. It is time for us as a people to take the next step in this broad process and translate that apology and the spirit of reconciliation into something real and tangible.

The people of St. Mary’s have had a long and enriching conversation with the leaders of the Aboriginal community and it has been agreed that it is appropriate that there should now be a ceremony conducted within the church, to formally acknowledge the relationship that has always existed between the church and the Aboriginal community. This ceremony will be a formal statement that will acknowledge the past wrongs and injustices that have been perpetrated against the Aboriginal people, a formal statement that will acknowledge the very special relationship that Aboriginal people have with land and country and a statement that will commit the church and the aboriginal community to a shared journey based on mutual respect, shared hope and an abiding vision.

This document will also acknowledge and pay due homage to the traditional owners and custodians of all the tribal lands of the Greater Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.
It is hoped that this historic ceremony will be the beginning of an ongoing process that will create the opportunity for more Aboriginal people to become a part of the Sacred Treaty Circles and as a community, bring about the healing of self and country. This ceremony will acknowledge that Aboriginal people are the primary owners and custodians of all this land and it is they who must lead us as we rediscover and reconnect with the truth and oneness of country beneath God.

Within this ceremony a document will be signed between the leaders of both communities to ensure that there will be no ambiguity or confusion about the intent of this coming together.

We invite you to attend this unique event that will be held at the St. Mary’s church, South Brisbane at 4pm. On Sunday the 30th. Of November. There will be a traditional blessing and “smoking” ceremony conducted by the Nunuccal dancers from Stradbroke Island and then there will be the formal signing of a Treaty of Commitment by Fr. Peter Kennedy on behalf of the St. Mary’s church and Mr. Denis ( Bejam )Walker, on behalf of the Sacred Treaty Circles.

Following the signing of the Treaty document, there will be a planting of a Bunya Pine in the front forecourt of the church. The Bunya Pine is one of the most sacred trees in Aboriginal spiritual belief and this ceremony will honour the ancient ritual of the “Gurrie-In-Dar-Narmie,” which was observed by tribes from across south-east Queensland at the time of the Bunya Nut harvest.

After the proceedings have been finalised there will be a community feast and a breaking of bread, to conclude the day’s programme.

A program of future cultural exchanges and ceremonies within the church has already been drawn up for next year, as the state prepares to celebrate it’s 150th. Anniversary.

All inquiries please contact –

* ST. MARYS – 07 / 38443806


* Dennis – “Bejam Kunmunara Jalo Nunuccal Kabul” – Walker
• treatynow.wordpress.com

* Sam Watson – 0401227443

Sublimus Dei

Pope Paul III (Topic: the enslavement and evangelization of Indians)
[Dated: May 29, 1537]

To all faithful Christians to whom this writing may come, health in Christ our Lord and the apostolic benediction.

The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Christ, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office ‘Go ye and teach all nations.’ He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith.

The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God’s word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.

By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, which shall thus command the same obedience as the originals, that the said Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living.


One Response

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  1. Tony Robertson said, on November 30, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    You are invited to view a set of images from yesterday’s signing of St Mary’s community in to the Sacred Treaty Circle. Images are available in the alum on the right hand side of St Mary’s Web at http://southbrisbane.wordpress.com

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