TOO few Victorians realise that history is quietly being made thanks to gatherings like those that took place last week in Bendigo, a local Indigenous leader says.
Over the course of two days, 31 representatives gathered at the Bendigo Tennis Centre to help plan for the most important moment of their lives.
Even members of the public who gathered outside for a casual game on the tennis courts might not have realised what was being discussed, and how it could shape their own lives even if they were not Aboriginal Australians.
On Thursday and Friday last week, Bendigo became central to every major discussion about healing historic wrongs and establishing Australia's first Indigenous Treaties with a sovereign government.
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That is because the democratically elected First People's Assembly met there to debate exactly how Treaty will work.
"I get goosebumps thinking about it," Dja Dja Wurrung man Rodney Carter said.
His Aboriginal Co-operative DJAARA may very well take a lead role in negotiating the Dja Dja Wurrung's Treaty with the Victorian government when their turn finally arrives.
That is probably still some years away. No-one wants to get Treaty negotiations wrong.
Getting it right has already taken well over three years of planning.
It has included the creation, largely from scratch, of a democratic process to keep the trust of the Indigenous community, Assembly co-chair Marcus Stewart said.
"We are getting into the meaty parts of the process, where we are going to hear loud and clear what is going to make the cut with our community, and what it is willing to accept," he said.
"Our job is to make sure we accurately represent their views and aspirations.
"It will be a fight when they get to the negotiation table and we are playing for keeps. These are the inherent rights of the oldest living culture in the world."
Most of the talks on Thursday and Friday were about the rules needed for an independent umpire with the power to keep eventual Treaty talks fair.
They also focused on potential sources of the finances needed to make sure Indigenous people were not outgunned by the government when negotiations began in earnest.
No-one is sure where that money is going to come from yet.
The government could end up backing it but Marcus said the Assembly was considering multiple means to guarantee Indigenous groups had enough money.
The Assembly is also yet to decide how much money would be needed for initial rounds of negotiations.
"It's easy to go out with a number but we also need to understand the function of the fund and then understand what it needs to be. That's the challenge we have," he said.
It is a challenge that can be solved with constant input from the wider Indigenous community, Marcus said.
"The best way of describing how we do business is that this is a ground-up process," Marcus said.
"The community are the architects and everything we build and design has to meet their aspirations."
The Assembly was not the only group talking about major changes in Bendigo last week.
Eleanor Bourke arrived on Friday to present the latest progress report on the steady build up to a Royal Commission into systematic injustice that Indigenous people have faced.
Her group is preparing for a busy 2022 defined by consultations on what the Royal Commission, named the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, will cover.
Aunty Eleanor said extensive consultations had found three words to cover Yoo-rrook's mission - the "truth" of what has happened, an "understanding" among wider society and a "transformation" through reforms that work.
"Those words cut across everything that we are going to be doing," Auntie Eleanor said.
Yoo-rrook was formed after the Assembly heard from Indigenous community members that there could be no Treaty without truth.
The Assembly views "truth" as the evidence that would help improve the lives of Aboriginal people, as well a means to finally establish an official narrative detailing how systemic injustices evolved over hundreds of years.
"Treaty then becomes the way to deliver the reforms needed to create and equal Victoria," Marcus said.
Much of the commissions work be hard to hear and even harder to tell, since it will so often mean revisiting trauma, Auntie Eleanor said.
"We do regard the establishment of a public record as a key activity because Aboriginal people have given up information freely and not much has been done with it," she said.
They might also be difficult for people who were not Aboriginal, but Auntie Eleanor said that members of parliament, the media and the wider Victorian population had already shown a willingness to walk the journey.
"It's really an opportunity for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to talk about why the former feels certain ways," Auntie Eleanor said.
"It's about language, it's about history, it's about the truth of this place called Victoria," she said.
"I think a lot of people are ready for that, these days."
Asked why Indigenous leaders are putting so much effort into reimagining how royal commissions and treaties need to work, Marcus said there was a much bigger question to answer.
"We are trying things, so why aren't they working? Why isn't change happening?" he said.
"I think that's because governments' approaches have lacked imagination.
"You can't take a cookie-cutter approach for a system that is built for the majority and expect it to work for the minority.
"Our lawmakers in state parliament, I don't think they are content with the situation.
"I do think they have been lacking a little creativity to figure out how we can do all of this."
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