Image: Australian Republic Movement (Facebook)
On the eve of King Charles III’s coronation a group of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations people, and allies from 12 Commonwealth nations are calling on the new monarch to apologise for the enduring impacts of colonisation.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines urge the King to make reparations, acknowledge the impact of slavery, and return artefacts and human remains.
Australian signatories of the letter include Nova Peris, the first Indigenous woman elected to federal parliament and co-chair of the Australian Republican Movement, fellow ARM co-chair Craig Foster and DjabWurrung, Gunnai, and Gunditjmara senator Lidia Thorpe.
“We stand united in engaging a process to right the wrongs of the past and to continue the process of decolonisation,” the letter said.
“We, the undersigned, call on the British monarch King Charles III, on the date of his coronation being May 6, 2023, to acknowledge the horrific impacts on and legacy of genocide and colonisation of the Indigenous and enslaved peoples.”
Olympic gold medalist and descendant of the Gija, Yawuru, and Muran Peoples, Nova Peris says it’s a difficult but important message for the King to hear and hopes their petition will begin a process towards justice.
“We know this may be a tough conversation for the Royal Family, but change begins with listening. We are asking King Charles III for an apology, reparation and the repatriation of our artifacts and remains,” said Ms Peris.
“King Charles has publicly acknowledged his personal sorrow at the suffering of so many. We are calling on him to also acknowledge the horrific and enduring impacts of the legacy of genocide and colonisation on Indigenous and enslaved peoples.”