Since 1770, there has been one version of Australia's history that has taken precedence over others.
This is of the Australian Europeans, the colonists who vastly changed the country after their arrival.
By labelling the land terra nullius, it meant colonists essentially had a blank page in which history could be written in a way most relevant to their own motives.
The prior history of the land, and the traditional owners' cultural attachment to it, has been either ignored or actively suppressed for many, many years.
History is what helps form the understanding of our identity.
Relatively little focus is placed on the history of the first Australians in our education systems, although there has been a move to integrate it more in recent years.
By excluding first nations' voices not only has this diminished this country's (and global) culture as a whole today, but also excluded such perspectives from being part of the discussion on how we can move into the future.
It is only in more recent times that through the work of many, including South East locals such as writer and historian Bruce Pascoe and leader of the campaign for the return of the Gweagal shield Rodney "Murrum" Kelly, the history of the first nation's of this land have worked their way from oral history into mainstream non-Indigenous society.
We need to appreciate this vast knowledge, to understand how culturally rich and diverse the island continent was when Captain Cook's men stepped ashore, for us to move forward together as a modern nation.
Three words important for us to think about this week are voice, treaty and truth. These words are inter-linked, and they make up the theme for NAIDOC Week 2019 which acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia's democracy.
As the voices of traditional owners have been excluded from the history after colonisation, this has meant there has not been the chance for the truth of the land to become widely known.
This is because for the Original Australians, their history of the impacts of colonisation is a lot darker than what many European Australians want to accept.
The truth may be hard to hear and even harder to accept, but by doing so shows respect for the lives lost during colonisation, and the impact it has had on today's survivors.
By listening to traditional owners' voices, it can help us all become more aware of what a treaty could mean.
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