Omicron, masks, restrictions, and border backflips, this our new reality and it has dominated our conversations ever since Covid-19 reared its ugly head and changed the world. Now more than ever, all of us are looking forward to a distraction, a way to kick back with our loved ones while holding onto some semblance of normalcy. With January 26 (Australia Day) soon approaching it may seem like there isn’t a better time to do so but as we take a pause on this day, we should also remember the significance it holds and its cultural implications.
January 26 is Survival Day, where the First Nations people and cultures have survived despite colonisation and discrimination.
It is also Day of Mourning, which commemorates 250 years of misery imposed upon First Nations peoples by white invaders of this country.
On Wednesday, it will also be known as Invasion Day, this marks the date of British occupation of First Nations lands, and the start of the frontier wars and resistance that continues to the present day.
At its core, this day is Sovereign Day, which recognises that all Aboriginal nations are sovereign and united in their continuous fight for their rights.
Being Australians, our national tapestry is diverse and our society is significantly multicultural but as we use the day to readjust to our new normal with our friends and families, we should see it as an opportunity to keep an open dialogue and educate ourselves.
According to a study in November 2021, 60% of respondents wanted to continue celebrating Australia day, but 53% of millennials think we should change the date. There is no doubt a shift coming. More than 80% of those polled agreed we need more Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander history taught in school. If we do, will this knowledge maybe increase the numbers of those beginning to understand the pain this day cause to many?
With knowledge, we can fully understand our rich culture and pay respect to our past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future together. What do you think?
Here are some helpful links to get you started: