Australia Day Protests
Tomorrow is a painful day for Indigenous Australians; the 26 January is a date commemorating the day British ships arrived on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and decimated First Australians. Many Australians recognise that a date celebrating all that is great about this nation should not be held on this date that marks genocide, rape and dispossession, a history that impacts Indigenous life chances in the present-day.
Australia Day was only observed by all states and territories from 1935 and it was relatively recently that it was made a national holiday in 1994. Indigenous Australians have been protesting this date since 1938, on the first ever Day of Mourning! Since then, Indigenous Australians have also held both Invasion Day and Survival Day events to continue resistance against colonialist, patriarchal views of what it means to be Australian.
We can — and must — celebrate being Australian on a day that is less divisive and hurtful. This year, Fremantle council in Western Australia has changed the date to the 28 January in consultation with Indigenous elders and community members; the rest of the nation must follow this example.
Find an Invasion Day protest in your nearest capital city – there is even a protest in Berlin! March to tell our officials that we must #ChangeTheDate.
Can’t attend a march? Check out the other Survival Day events around the country.
Protest in Sydney
I am writing to you from Sydney, land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.
In Sydney, I’ll be marching in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have looked after these lands for over 75,000 years (and much earlier by other accounts). The Sydney march starts in the mighty community of Redfern and ends at the Yabun Survival Day Festival, where there will be music, kids activities, panels, market stalls, and cultural performances.
Both the protest and festival are family-friendly events. Bring sunscreen, water and food as it’ll be hot!
Around 10,000 people marched in Sydney for the Women’s March. I was just one among many people concerned about social justice. I saw signs that read: “Women’s rights are human rights.” Well, Indigenous rights are human rights and Indigenous rights are a feminist issue! Intersectionality means showing up for all women, and recognising how racism impacts on gender equality.
I hope that the same 10,000 people who marched on the 21st will also march on the 26th of January. If you are able, join the march to support the traditional owners of this country. March because Indigenous Australians have always fought for feminist causes, human rights and the environment. It is only through Indigenous leadership that we can make Australia a better and truly inclusive nation.
See you there! I will tweet from @OtherSociology for those who can’t make it.
[Image: Symbol for fire in red against a yellow sun and black background, the colours of the Aboriginal Flag. Text reads: “Calling all sovereign peoples and supporters to stand with us on Invasion Day 27 January 2017. Keep the fire burning.”] Image: FIRE.
Source: The Other Sociologist.