· By Maria Nilsson
JANUARY 26 IS NO DAY TO CELEBRATE
Poster art by @LukeJohnMatthewArnold
It’s 2019, and the day that is supposed to represent the commemoration of a National Day in Australia still falls on the day that the First Fleet arrived on the shores of The Eora nation and decimated The Gadigal People. Unfortunately, only 38% of Australians know why Australia Day falls where it does, with the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788, it was on the 26th of January, where a small ceremony was held in Sydney Cove to recognise the establishment of European Australia, simultaneously marking the beginning of the obliteration and burial of Indigenous cultural knowledge systems. This 38% also defines the concealed narrative Australia has been fed since day dot where the horrific realities have been camouflaged by seemingly quick fix strategies to sweep the blame and guilt under the rug and cover it up with the overexposure and inflation of media coverage. Mainstream media made sure ‘sorry day’ was in the eyes and minds of every white or black person, they make sure we know about the beneficial campaigns and much needed support from white people on what ‘we’ need to do to make it better for ‘them’. What about the Indigenous youth suicide crisis happening around this country right now? When there has been a previous calling to the federal government to support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy before. This crisis doesn’t enter mainstream media as it reignites the white blame and reminds them that the murder, thievery, rape, dispossession and ignorance of culture is linked and at fault of the social and emotional well-being of Indigenous Peoples today.
This is no tirade, it is simple encouragement towards taking responsibility to inform yourselves about how you got here, what has happened in the last 231 years and what you can do next. There are so many brilliant Indigenous activists out there who are fighting for political and social change. Take Aretha Brown for instance, an Indigenous Activist from Gumbaynggir Country (Nambucca Heads, NSW). At just 16 years old, Aretha performed a powerful speech at the Invasion Day Rally in 2017, since then, she has proceeded to be a fronting voice of Indigenous Affairs, where most recently her work has been central around the discussion of the Invasion Day debate. Take responsibility and look at her work: www.thearethabrownshow.com Instagram: __a.b.o__
Another notable figure more than worthy of a mention is IndigenousX, a platform founded by Luke Pearson as one of Australia’s most trusted First People’s media platforms. The site is prolific in material to immerse yourself in the good, bad and ugly of Aboriginal Activism as they actively challenge stereotypes of the Indigenous community. IndigenousX is the site to expose yourself to the news that government funded organisations won’t at: indigenousx.com.au
There is so much information out there that is not receiving enough recognition or big enough platforms. Here at Atmosea, we want to not only be a voice for empowering women in the surf, but to all social, cultural and political issues that strike a nerve and make us think about the intentions behind governmental procedures. Issues are endless, talking about them is unlimited, your voice is powerful and your mind needs to know about them. The Invasion Day debate just seems embarrassing, in that why is it even a debate? A decision to change the date will be taking a responsible step forward towards the unification of a dark history and a more inclusive future. Like Karen Mundine said, “It remains impossible for ‘Australia Day’ to be an inclusive occasion as long as it is set on a date that some Australians celebrate, while others grieve.”
This January 26, we will mourn all that has been taken from and is lost by our First People, we will not celebrate any kind of nationalism or patriotism, we will respect it as a day of mourning for our First People. For all of us at Atmosea, January 26 is no date to celebrate.
visitors of the Arakwal people on Bundjalung Nation.
#educate #inform #respect
Written by Daini Stephenson