Honestly Alan Hunter and Paul Spooner – with regard to your proclamations in The Echo on January 23, how would you feel if the country of your ancestors for thousands and thousands of years was overtaken by the hordes from over the ocean, if all your hunting and fishing and agricultural sites were denied you, if your children were taken away, the speaking of your languages forbidden, if you and yours were looked down on and incarcerated and treated unjustly at every turn year after year, decade after decade?
How would you feel if the colonisers decided to celebrate their great good fortune at living on this stolen country on the very day that you regard as Invasion Day? The day that the rich life you had enjoyed with your tribe and your family began to unravel, with shootings, poisonings, diseased blankets distributed to your fellow countrymen and women, and a score of other atrocities? How would you feel?
All people of non-Aboriginal descent now live on stolen country, regardless of the fact that we ourselves didn’t steal it, still we benefit from that dispossession. Surely it’s easy to acknowledge that the least we could do is to be compassionate and gracious enough to consider the deep heartache and humiliation of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Peoples, instead of hammering home to them every January 26 – Invasion Day, that we’re delighted to be able to celebrate our great good fortune on this particular date?
And as for “just how divisive a separate Australia Day celebration on January 25 is for the community” (with regard to Australia Day Awards), on Awards Night one of the awards recipients who identified herself as a descendant of the Pitjantjatjara People, publicly expressed her thanks to Simon Richardson for having the sensitivity to move the ceremony from Jan 26 to Jan 25.
This is NOT a political distraction. It is NOT an ‘empty tokenistic Greens party push’. It is a human expression of compassion for the pain and heart-break of others, the original Australians, be they a minority or not.
And regards ‘drawing attention to the impact that settlement has had on our indigenous people is very divisive and utterly unnecessary as it has long since (???) become a day on which WE ALL celebrate a country coming of age …’ This date NEEDS to have attention drawn to it as Invasion/Survival Day. This is how we can fully address our history – a day of mourning for our indigenous peoples – and with a degree of compassion and understanding and respect – move forward together with clear hearts and minds.
As for a date for Australia Day, my vision is a timeline – January 26 is Invasion/Survival Day, an appropriate date during the April school holidays for Australia Day, Sorry Day May 26, Reconciliation Week May 27 through till June 3 (Eddie Mabo Day) and then NAIDOC celebrations in July. Sounds good to me.