Not Happy Jan 26th
As Australia day approaches, you begin to see more and more 4WD’s donning the Australian flag, proudly flapping about in the wind. You start to plan which great Aussie events and parties you will go to over the long weekend. Will it be the cane toad racing this year? Or maybe you’ll have a barbie and a VB while playing beach cricket with your mates? While all of the options sound great, what is it that we are really celebrating?
To many Australians, January 26th celebrates the day that the land of the free was established. We get a public holiday where we are encouraged to have a few beers in the sun, what’s not to celebrate? Well, to many Indigenous folk, January 26th is a day of mourning. It marks the date that their ancestors were invaded and killed, their right to practice their culture was lost and the sovereign rights to their land not recognised. It was the beginning of the centuries-long genocide. It is easy for non-Indigenous people to feel removed from this issue as they are not directly affected by it in their day to day lives. This is why it is so important to connect with Indigenous folk and listen to their perspectives.
Summer May Finlay, who is an Indigenous Yorta Yorta woman, writer, public health practitioner and PhD Candidate, states “We need good allies. We are only three per cent of the Australian population. We can’t raise the profile of issues affecting us without our allies.” But how can non-indigenous people be useful and respectful allies to Aboriginal people while avoiding paternalism?
Here are some tips that Summer May Finlay has compiled in her article How to be a good Indigenous Ally.
This January 26th, try to think beyond the celebrations. What does this day really signify?
As an organisation that was founded in Australia, we acknowledge, recognise and respect Indigenous Elders, families and forebears as the traditional owners of this land. As an international organisation, we also acknowledge, recognise and respect Indigenous Elders, families and forebears as the traditional owners of their lands across the globe.