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Finding the Heart of the Nation
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About the Author

Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander man born on Larrakia country in Darwin. As an Islander growing up on the mainland, he learned to hunt traditional foods with his father and to island dance from the Darwin community of Torres Strait Islanders. In high school, Thomas's English teacher suggested he should become a writer. He didn't think then that he would become one of the first ever Torres Strait Islander authors to have a book published for the general trade. Instead, he became a wharf labourer from the age of seventeen, until he became a union official for the Maritime Union of Australia in his early thirties. Quietly spoken in character, Thomas found his voice on the wharves. As he gained the skills of negotiation and organising in the union movement, he applied those skills to advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples, becoming a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a tireless campaigner. Following the Uluru Convention, Thomas was entrusted to carry the sacred canvas of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He then embarked on an eighteen-month journey around the country to garner support for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice, and a Makarrata Commission for truth-telling and agreement-making or treaties. Thomas's journey continues, both in person and through the pages of this book. The book is his gift to the campaign for Voice, Treaty and Truth. Like the Uluru Statement from the Heart, he hopes that all Australians will accept it.

Reviews

'Thomas's compelling work is full of Australian Indigenous voices that should be heard. Read this book, listen to them and take action.' - Danny Glover, American actor and civil rights activist

'Thomas Mayor has captured the spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their long struggle for a voice in the Australian nation state. That spirit is expressed in the eloquent Uluru Statement from the Heart. It is the spirit of hundreds of First Nations, whose peoples are the descendants of the first humans to arrive in what is now Australia, 65,000 years ago. Despite all the efforts to eradicate us and our identities, we persist. Thomas's own story, and the stories of the people he met as he travelled the continent with the original painted Uluru Statement, are testament to the dignity and strength of the people who want what is right and just.' - Professor Marcia Langton AM, author and academic

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