Alwyn Doolan arrived in Canberra on the eve of the federal election, having walked 8500 kilometres to present Prime Minister Scott Morrison with three message sticks.
But on Friday morning, some three months since he started lobbying the government for a meeting to hand them over, he began his 1500 kilometre journey back to Queensland with them, starting at Old Parliament House.
After several calls and emails, Mr Doolan was told that the prime minister could not meet with him because of "existing programme commitments". It was suggested that Mr Doolan might meet for a second time with Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, instead, but he received no response.
"[People] have to be aware that I've walked this far to meet our country's leader, and he's denied that," Mr Doolan, who is of the Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka nations, said.
"It's disappointing the prime minister is all talk about us walking together, towards reconciliation [and] towards equal opportunities.
"When it came down to a meeting he wasn't keen to hear what the communities I walked through had to say."
Message sticks are an ancient Aboriginal communication tool, and in this case, presented both an "invitation and a challenge" to the prime minister "to embrace the ancient sovereignty that has long been denied" for Aboriginal people, and acknowledge the need to begin discussions about reconciliation and healing, Mr Doolan said.
On his journey from Cape York to Canberra, he engaged with 50 First Nations peoples to find out the issues they felt were important.
Self-determination stood out, with Aboriginal communities emphasising the need for cultural practices and protocols to be adhered to.
"How we run things in our communities is very different to the western government system and [I'm] trying to align that up in a process ... [between] government and our people," Mr Doolan said.
"We need to unite and treaty together at a national level meeting first to be able to organise effective leadership that can determine the co-design of a voice [for First Nations peoples].
"There's over 500 nations [in Australia] and it's law of our people that we can't necessarily speak for another country."
A formalised treaty between the Commonwealth and Aboriginal people was a complex thing to pursue, Mr Doolan said.
All nations had to be heard on the best way forward for self-determination and reconciliation, but the government should start engaging with nation groups at a "grassroots" level.
"I think we really have to go back and start over and go through it clearly and optimally," Mr Doolan said.
He also wanted to spread a message about the negative impacts of humans' dominance over the environment, and encourage the government to stop the Adani mine and take action on climate change.
After his journey home, which would see him travel through Cowra, Dubbo and Moree among other places on his way to Woorabinda, he would begin the process of "healing" Aboriginal communities.
"I'll start off facilitating smoking ceremonies at each of the documented colonial frontier war sites, and then move on to ... forums over the 500 nations and trying to get representations from each of [them to] find how we determine our government body," Mr Doolan said.