Picture this, January 26th 1788, boats arrive in Sydney, scouring the terrain that looks untouched. What’s truly here and significant is the oldest living culture on the planet, some 80,000 years of people deeply connected to the land and the land to them. A beautiful mutual respect for human, animal and earth happens here. And so, it looks untouched but really there’s a deep symbiosis, the heart and soul of the First Peoples of Australia. Even so, British colonisers touch down on Australian lands and claim the country as Terra Nullius.
What is Terra Nullius, you ask? Well, it means empty.
January 26th marks the very first day of dispossession for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander folks. This day marks the beginning of a new era of slavery, disease, removal of children, removal of land, destruction of language, culture and identity. This country, this land has never been ceded.
Acknowledgement is important. To acknowledge the history of Australia is imperative to healing, growing, learning and an opening up of a more empathetic and compassionate society. How can we be truly whole if we do not acknowledge this real history?
Celebration is also important. Australia is an incredible country rich in its beauty of land, ocean, a diverse mix of humans from cultures spanning all corners of the world, incredible food, a sun that beats down on us giving life to plants and animals alike. There is so much to celebrate. There is so much to acknowledge.
But not on a day that marks such a dark moment in history for ALL Australians. We feel that is brutally disrespectful, cruel, and decidedly un-Australian.
As an organisation, we are choosing to celebrate Australia on January 31st.
Our team will be working on Wednesday 26th of January and taking off another day instead.
Making this choice is an action of solidarity. It’s acknowledging our history here in Australia, warts and all. It’s hard to even comprehend the loss of life, language, culture, art, history that was caused by colonisation in Australia. The oldest living culture on earth, 80,000 years old, has so much history much much more than the recent 200 odd years this date was slapped on for celebration. So let’s celebrate together, on a different day.
Events happening that you can take part in:
(List taken from Seed Mob)
- Online Victorian NAIDOC Invasion Day Dawn Service
- Mt Martha Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survival Day
- Mt Martha Our Survival Day
- Malvern Healing Ceremony
- Belgrave Survival Day
- Glen Huntly Koorie Chill Out
- Ballarat Survival Day Dawn Ceremony
- Mildura Survival Day 2022
New South Wales
- Townsville Survival Day 2022
- South Stradbroke Island Multicultural Celebrations
- Brisbane Invasion Day Rally
Aboriginal organisations to support:
- Clothing the Gaps – merch
- Haus of Dizzy – jewelry
- Ginny’s Girl Gang – apparel
- Indigiearth – bush foods
- Supply Nation – for a huge list of Indigenous organisations
- Seed Mob – Climate Justice Movement
- Indigenous Literacy Foundation
- Gunawirra – healing through culture
- The Purple House – providing dialysis treatments
- National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy – getting kids into sports
Aboriginal leaders that inspire us:
Great resources to learn more about Aboriginal history and culture:
- Frontier War stories
- Pretty for an Aboriginal – stories from leaders interview by Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui
- Word Up – Learn language
- Skyentists – astronomy from an Aboriginal perspective
- Dark Emu – Uncle Bruce Pascoe
- Another day in the colony – Chelsea Watego
- Decolonising solidarity
As always, thanks for being here with us.