Elders’ Yarns take place in Geelong

June 22, 2022 BY

The Yoorrook Justice Commission invited Geelong Elders to be part of the submission process. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Yoorrook Justice Commission took its next historic step towards achieving truth and justice in Victoria by inviting Elders in Geelong to make nuther-mooyoop (submissions) to commissioners in the state.

The Elders’ Yarns event last week in Norlane provided an opportunity for Elders in Geelong to share their truth about the impacts of colonisation on First Peoples.

Nuther-mooyoop is the Boonwurrung word for truth and has been adopted by Yoorrook as the term for submission based on advice from the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) in collaboration with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and VACL’s Advisory Language groups.

The meeting with Geelong Elders demonstrated the resilience of Traditional Owners including the survival of cultures, knowledge, histories and traditions.

As part of the submission process, First Peoples’ suggestions and truths were protected through Yoorrook’s unique Indigenous data sovereignty protocols, ensuring participants are able to decide how their information will be found and used.

Professor Eleanor Bourke, chair of the Yoorrook Justice Commission, spoke positively about the historic milestone in Australia’s first and only truth and justice process.

“The opening of nuther-mooyoop is an important step in truth telling,” she said.

“Through this process we expect to receive a large number of stories, experiences and histories that have never been told before.

“We also want to assure our Elders, and anyone who makes a nuther-mooyoop over the course of our inquiry, that their stories will be protected and that truth telling will be done in a culturally safe way.”

Through the process, the ultimate goal is for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians to build a shared understanding of Elders’ history.

Submissions made to Yoorrook can take any form, such as writing, an audio or video recording, or through a truth-telling object such as an artwork, cultural artefact, or photo.

“All ways of telling truth are of equal importance,” Prof. Bourke said.

“A nuther-mooyoop can include anything about past or current experiences of systemic injustice for an Elder, in addition to that of their family or community.”

Elders can continue to make submissions online at yoorrookjusticecommission.org.au.