For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and many other Australians, Australia Day, or Invasion Day, is a day of great sorrow. We asked Evolve co-Directors, Aunty Munya Andrews and Carla Rogers, to share ideas for how we can support First Nations people on January 26th.
“Before we can go there, and talk about Australia Day, we need to understand what it is exactly,” says Carla Rogers.
She points us to an extract from her and Munya Andrews book, Practical Reconciliation, which reads:
“Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 invasion of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, NSW, and the raising of the flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. Compared to 100,000 years of Aboriginal people living, loving and sharing this land with each other, the 230 years since invasion is minuscule.
It was less than 100 years ago in 1935 that all Australian states and territories adopted use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date, and less than 30 years ago, in 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories.”
“So just imagine that tomorrow we are invaded by another country,” proposes Carla, “and that they raise their flag, take possession of our homes, and throw us into purpose-built jails.”
“If that isn’t bad enough, imagine that years later your grandchildren and great-grandchildren are asked to celebrate that day as a national holiday. Unthinkable, really.”
Now you understand what Australia Day is, and how it might feel for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to be asked to celebrate on this day, you are probably wondering “What can I do?”.
The good news is, you can make a real difference by becoming an Ally. Carla explains what it means to be an Ally in the video below: