Truth, Justice and Healing: Submissions Open Now

The Ebony Institute has been working for six years on building an evidence base, led by First Nations expertise and experience, on the strategic value, risks and best practices of truth-telling. 

We produced a discussion paper in September 2020 entitled Hear My Heart from this foundational work. You can also watch a video that summarises the key themes from the event here.

For a quick guide to the project so far, you can download our project summary deck.

We have recently engaged the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research to seek answers to the following questions:

  • Are we all ready to tell and hear the truth?
  • Why should we do truth-telling at all?
  • How do we tell the truth and keep our communities and Elders safe?
  • What should happen after we tell the truth?

To participate in this process, you can write us a submission that answers these questions by using the button below.

If you prefer to answer these questions in a document or make a more formal written submission, please send your answers to

To check if you can participate in our group consultations, please email

Submissions will close on February 17.

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Why Truth, Justice and Healing?

Truth-telling means speaking and hearing the truth about conflict, genocide, trauma or abuse, or other wrongdoing. It can be formal (set up by law or governments) or informal (set up at a grassroots level or through communities and activists).

Truth-telling can also be part of other processes, like Treaty or establishing representative bodies. The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission is already underway, and other states and territories have committed to similar bodies. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says truth-telling bodies must be unique, independent, safe, and be backed by international support and local political will. They shouldn’t replace other legal proceedings.

What have we heard so far?

From yarns and written research from experts, we learned that truth must include justice and healing. We have heard:

  • Truth can’t be told without consequences
  • Truth can’t be told and then forgotten.
  • Truth must be sought in a trauma-informed and culturally-secure way — and support truth-tellers.
  • Truth-telling must be done for a wide-range of factors, structures and events.
  • Truth-telling has to have a strategy that genuinely benefits First Nations.

Telling the truth has to mean reckoning with sovereignty.

Do I have to participate?

No, participation is voluntary. You can also withdraw your submission at any stage, prior to the development of the final report in February 2022.

Does this project have ethics approval?

Yes, ethics approval was granted by AIATSIS. The reference number is EO255-20210518.

Who is supporting this research?

Funding for The Ebony Institute has been provided by the Annamila First Nations Foundation and this project has been supported by AIATSIS Research Funding.

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