Indigenous journalist Narelda Jacobs has revealed her “complicated” reaction to Queen Elizabeth II’s death and called for an apology to First Nations people over Britain’s colonial history.
Speaking on Studio 10 on Monday morning in a “very personal and difficult” segment, the TV presenter and Whadjuk Noongar woman discussed how many Aboriginal people were responding to the Queen’s death last week at age 96.
Jacobs said the monarchy was a “symbol of colonisation” but nothing has been done to “make up for that” during the Queen’s 70-year reign.
“There was a great wrong that was done,” she said.
“Australia was settled without the consent of First Nations people that were here.”
Jacobs talked about the life of her late father Cedric Jacobs, who was part of the Stolen Generations and a Uniting Church in Australia reverend.
She said Cedric met the Queen and Prince Philip four times, including to receive an MBE from the Queen in 1981.
At that time, he was in the process of drafting a treaty between Indigenous Australians and the Commonwealth, but the Royals did not raise it during the meeting.
Jacobs questioned why the Queen didn’t address the proposed treaty despite knowing about the “struggles” of First Nations people and the “trauma” of colonisation.
“They knew full well that plans for a treaty were afoot, as there were treaties in New Zealand and also in Canada,” she said.
“But what did they do? That’s the source of the frustration.”
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‘No acknowledgement or apology for that’
Narelda Jacobs acknowledged that while the monarchy was “above politics”, she said the Royal Family should recognise the past.
“While the world has united in grief over the Queen’s passing, colonised people have also united over their trauma,” she said.
“Because we know that in British museums are stolen artefacts, stolen gems, diamonds.
“There are human remains that are sitting in British museums even now, and there’s been no acknowledgment of that or apology for that.”
Jacobs also said the referendum on the Voice to Parliament was the first step, and said must come before any move to make Australia a republic.
“The Voice to Parliament is the first step. It’s the easiest step in the Uluru Statement from the Heart,” she said.
“And it flows on [to] treaty processes which began in this country in the late 70s.”
The establishment of a treaty will finally recognise Indigenous Australians as sovereign people, Jacobs explained.
“There is no constitutional recognition of Indigenous people. So that’s what treaty is all about, making agreement, making peace,” she said.
“That peace should have been done as soon as Captain Cook landed here, not firing the first shots and injuring people.”
Jacobs added, “We need to come to terms with our history and really unite.
“It’s not something that should be dismissed as saying, ‘Get over it’.
“We can co-exist with the head of state of Australia, which doesn’t have to be the monarch.
“We can have First Nations authority as well sitting side by side.
“Those things can exist and that would involve the Australian public having a very personal journey… to understand that history and say yes, I am happy for those things to coexist and for us to live in a world where we can be united and not divided.”
Narelda Jacobs says world is ‘grieving for different reasons’
Jacobs shared the segment on her social media, explaining a photo of her father meeting the Queen in 1981 “sat pride of place in our family home” as a symbol of achievement.
“My dad had a great fondness for Queen Elizabeth. Reaction to her passing is complicated,” she wrote.
“The world is grieving for different reasons. Please don’t judge or dismiss anyone’s feelings of loss.”
You can also watch the full Studio 10 segment below:
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