This is a terminology guide. It is a glossary of terms created to influence change and introduce appropriately consulted language into the space of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discourse.

Aboriginal Australia predates all other recorded histories, cultures and civilizations on Earth. This is a unique position to be in as the nation of Australia moves forward with a new intent to recognise and engage in reconciliation and healing with its First Peoples.

While the effects of invasion, colonisation and settlement on Aboriginal Australia have had such devastating effect, it is clear that there is a shift in the acceptance and appreciation of the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, customs, knowledges and perspectives and their contributions to our modern society. Aboriginal communities also are engaging in discourses of sovereignty, treaty, unity, reconciliation and the processes involved in achieving presence within the Australian narrative. It is simply time: time to share the path and walk together.

This complex and convoluted landscape before us actually represents an opportunity. For you, it presents opportunity for exploration and experimentation, a time to learn new things, a time to try new things, a time to build new understandings. It also presents opportunity to engage in negotiation and consultation, the essential ingredients for building new relationships, establishing new beginnings, new conversations and new underpinnings that can ground aspirations, such as reconciliation and healing.

This booklet recognises the importance of terminology in decolonising and reconciling the Australian narrative. It respects the significance of the terms and phrases we use when bringing together cultures and peoples sharing Country. Importantly, it is an opportunity for us to challenge the practice that is present currently when speaking, writing and thinking about the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.

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