Many people regard January 26 as sacrosanct, a day when we celebrate Australian unity. However, many people also recognise January 26 as Invasion Day, and it has become a day of mourning for them.
The reality is that in recent times, politicians and the media have inflamed the situation to make it a divisive issue for their own ends.
For non-Indigenous Australians, January 26 has in recent years been celebrated as ‘Australia Day’. For Indigenous Australians, it’s Invasion Day. The date, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet, has become a day of mourning for what those tall ships from England brought with them—death, suffering, and the beginning of what’s now over two centuries of injustice and dispossession to First Nations people.
Our principal, Greg Martin, says:
“I recently turned 60, and for as long as I can remember, growing up in the country and knowing some Aboriginal people, January 26 has never been a day of unity. I vividly recall 1988 when there were protests about the bicentenary. January 26 has always been offensive to Aboriginal people as it is simply a denial of their existence as the stewards of this country for 60 thousand years.
Whilst I don’t remember it, historically I know that it has only been since 1967 that Aboriginal people have been counted as citizens of the country and entitled to vote.
For those who don’t know, on 26 January 1908, the Rum Rebellion took place. This was exactly 20 years after the arrival of the First Fleet. Governor William Bligh was overthrown as the Governor of NSW and replaced by officers within the NSW Corps.
So here is my suggestion as to how to celebrate the 26th of January.
On January 26 we celebrate Rum Rebellion Day, and we can all drink alcohol and overthrow our government!
We then celebrate Australia Day on 1 January, which is when we became a country in 1901.
We still have exactly the same holidays, we all have BBQs and drink alcohol, and we get rid of some of our more disliked governments.
We then sign a Treaty and call it Reconciliation Day on a day of our choosing, as recommended by the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and get another holiday to celebrate our 60,000 years of indigenous culture!
See, I have all the answers! We all win! No downsides.”
Whatever you decide to do on January 26, remember to be tolerant and be kind.
If you are interested in attending a First Nation’s march, thenhave a look at this Pedestrian article.
Also, you may wish to attend the wonderful Yabun Festival at Victoria Park in Sydney.
Enjoy your long weekend, everybody.