Gathering at the spiritual heart of the nation, Aboriginal Australia has abandoned constitutional recognition in favour of a voice in parliament and a treaty.
Hundreds of indigenous leaders from across the country have endorsed the Uluru Statement From The Heart, a road map for amendments to the nation's founding document.
The Referendum Council says delegates overwhelmingly rejected a simple statement of acknowledgement recognising Aboriginal people, and will only accept fundamental reform.
The declaration pushes for a constitutionally-enshrined, elected indigenous advisory body and a commission for treaty negotiations and truth-telling.
Referendum Council Co-Chair Pat Anderson says Aboriginal Australians must have a say in the government policies, programs and legislation that affect them.
"At the moment we're locked out, we're powerless and voiceless in our own land," she said.
"All the money that's (spent) on us and all the programs, they've all failed."
The proposal was delivered on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1967 referendum that included Aboriginal Australians in the census.
"In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country," the statement said.
A working group will be set up after a final report is presented to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in late June, as campaigners try to bring the Australian public with them.
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt and federal Labor MP Linda Burney have both said the most well-crafted proposal will mean nothing if it's not winnable, making pragmatism an imperative.
But Cape York indigenous leader Noel Pearson says putting an "acknowledgement plaque" at the top of the constitution was never going to be enough.
"I don't at all believe there's justification to have low expectations here. There's a groundswell and a ready constituency for support," he told AAP.
And although only eight out of 44 Australian referendums have succeeded since 1901, Mr Pearson is confident a referendum can be won within the next year.
He believes the next stage of the process - convincing the parliament - will be the most difficult hurdle.
"I think the Australian people are the easy part, if we have the requisite political leadership who will be able to capitalise on that willingness," Mr Pearson said.
"(And) I've found more substantial bright lights of support on the conservative end, I actually think it's the sagging, timid middle that is our greatest challenge."
Mr Turnbull was tight lipped on whether the coalition would endorse a new permanent indigenous representative body and didn't want to pre-empt the final recommendations.
"We will consider them with the greatest of respect and gravity as is appropriate to accord to them," he told reporters in Sydney.
Ms Anderson said although governments had ignored the demands of the Aboriginal community for decades, she's determined to bring an end to disadvantage.
"It's this generation's turn to have a run at it and we're going to run at it head first," she said.
"Our very survival in fact depends on it. We won't be around in another 50 years."
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
1. Does not diminish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty.
2. Involves substantive, structural reform.
3. Advances self-determination and the standards established under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
4. Recognises the status and rights of First Nations.
5. Tells the truth of history.
6. Does not foreclose on future advancement.
7. Does not waste the opportunity of reform.
8. Provides a mechanism for First Nations agreement-making.
9. Has the support of First Nations.
10. Does not interfere with current and future legal arrangements.