Truth Justice and Healing (TJH) Project

We believe truth is the foremost critical component of enabling meaningful social change and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We understand Australia is ‘stuck’ and cannot move forward without addressing the fundamental basis on which the nation was built. Therefore, Ebony’s first project is the Truth Justice and Healing (TJH) Project. The TJH Project aimed to answer the following key question: What are the strengths and weaknesses of truth telling initiatives overseas and in Australia? From late 2018 to early 2020 Ebony developed an evidence base, summarised in a discussion paper, which will be used to generate a national conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and then to campaign for change based on their views and deliberations, informed by evidence. The condensed version of the discussion paper can be downloaded here: ‘Hear My Heart’ – Truth, Justice & Healing Project – Brief Discussion Paper. The full version of the discussion paper can be downloaded here: ‘Hear My Heart’ – Truth, Justice & Healing Project – Discussion Paper. The TJH Project was guided by a Reference Group and Technical Advisors Professor Larissa Behrendt, Professor Mark McMillan, and Elders Dr Mary Graham and Dr Lilla Watson. Research Officer on the TJH Project was Leonie West-Taylor and Project Coordinator was Casey Phillips. In July 2019, Ebony consulted a national workshop of 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. The national workshop reached resounding commitment to and consensus that the TJH Project was important, timely, and very much needed due its unique evidence-based and community-driven approach. Ebony especially thanks the Annamila Foundation for their visionary and generous support of the TJH Project and of Ebony. We also thank Wayapa Wuurrk and the Aboriginal Wellness Foundation Ltd for being our supporters and auspice body on this project.

Phase 2

Engagement will be Aboriginal-led, and will be held with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and key stakeholders around Australia, using the discussion paper as an evidence base and starting point for discussions. Consultation meetings are intended to answer the question ‘What are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ views on the best way to tell the truth in Australia?’ To begin these discussions a Truth, Justice and Healing National Roundtable was held in Narrm on the 24th March 2021 with approximately 30 people in attendance, the focus being on how we should work, who we should consult with, and what we could do to ensure our discussions with communities are real, ethical and effective. Ebony is currently engaging a Research Officer to manage the delivery of Phase 2 with the oversight of the Ebony Board and Research Committee. Project deliverables include;
  • Ethics applications – 1st draft submitted to AIATSIS 18 May 2021
  • Methodology for engagement and research
  • Confirming key stakeholders to engage
  • Engagement with key stakeholders and data collection
  • Analysis of results/interpret findings
  • Draft TJH Framework

Phase 3

Campaign/TJH Framework – October – December 2021 The outcomes of the discussion paper and engagements will be used to inform the design of a Truth, Justice and Healing Framework that can be used to campaign for reform. The campaign will have the advantage of being evidence-based and grounded in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities’ priorities for reform.

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