January 26, 2020•418 words
Australia Day, Invasion Day, Survival Day. My impression is in recent years it's been about equally split between "Invasion" (commemorating) and "Survival" (celebrating), whereas this year seemed firmly on the side of "Invasion". It makes sense to me that this comes first, because there is no other day to commemorate the losses that dozens of nations experienced when white people arrived. The losses that white people deliberately inflicted. There were fewer calls for "Change the date", because that implies one still wants a day to celebrate. We have so much more acknowledging to do.
Listening to 3CR I heard a recording of the Dawn Service held this morning, I think for the second year. This seems a very smart and just ritual for Aboriginal people to have, adopting maybe the most sacred non-religious ritual in white Australian culture.
I was born in Yorta Yorta country, but grew up in a few places, including Yuin country. Now I'm making my life in the Kulin nation. To look at the map (https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/aiatsis-map-indigenous-australia) and really reckon with hundreds of distinct societies is an overwhelming thing.
With the impact of the bushfires, I've been wondering if white people have been making the connection to land that I guess is part of the way Aboriginal people relate to land. That it is part of us, we are part of it, and we have a duty to care for it. Maybe for a minute but I'm not sure it lasts.
As it happens I am reading Stan Grant's "Talking to my country", an excellent book to be reading at this time. I picked it up from the library in curiosity after hearing him speak in the Adam Goodes doco last year. He wrote this book after that all went down in 2015.
There are so many ways that white Australia fails its first peoples. From deaths in custody and racist policing, laws that were called to be abolished decades ago but remain on the books. To shamefully ignoring the Uluru Statement from the Heart and continuing to have no acknowledgement of indigeneous people in our constitution.
One of the rallying calls from this year was "Pay the rent". Midnight Oil sang Beds are Burning in 1987 and we've made so little progress since then, the tune hasn't aged at all.
Some groups I learned about:
- Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/feature/women-fighting-against-rising-tide-indigenous-child-removals
- Seed - an indigeneous youth climate network. Amelia Telford, their national director, was one of the speakers at the Melbourne rally. https://www.seedmob.org.au/