NACCHO Aboriginal Health #InvasionDay #ChangetheDate #AustraliaDay2018 80th anniversary of the #DayofMourning and protest : Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural events and protests will be held across Australia

 ” As long as Australia Day continues to be held on January 26, we will continue the process of truth-telling about our history on this day. Australia needs to awaken to a truth: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have always been here and always will be. Australia’s national consciousness needs to mature, if we are to unite and form a new inclusive national identity

 National Congress of Australia’s First People is supporting marches around Australia to commemorate Survival Day, to call for Treaty and to remind all Australians that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders consider January 26 a Day of Mourning; a day that marks the invasion of our lands. ”

National Congress of Australia’s First People see full Press Release Part 1 Below

Invasion Day rally: where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural events across Australia and protests will be held across Australia

More info here

 ” The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Cooperative Limited (VAHS) strongly supports the Change the Date of Australia Day campaign as we see on a daily basis the impacts it has on the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and our community members.

The VAHS suggests the new date for Australia Day should be 18th of May as a symbolic gesture signifying the birth of modern multicultural Australian Democracy.

The rationale behind the 18th of May, is that is represents the anniversary of the first time all Australians got to express their democratic rights together.

The 1967 Referendum recognized the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the 1973 legislative changes to allow all migrants to be citizens regardless of country of origin, the election of 1974 signified the beginning of the modern Australian era.”

Michael Graham – Chief Executive Officer see full press release Part 2 Below

One of our Aboriginal researchers has got data to show that even young kids, Aboriginal kids, their self-esteem is partly due to how they perceive the dominant culture perceives them.

So if the dominant culture says, ‘We want to say sorry to Aboriginal people for what happened to them’, or, ‘We want to change the date’, then they are likely to say, ‘Oh gosh, they understand, they care so I’m not going to feel so depressed, I’m not going to feel so angry, I’m not going to drink, I’m going to be better’.”

Former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley says changing the date of Australia Day would have an “almost direct”, positive impact on Aboriginal health. see Part 3 below or Part 6 for Help

“It’s not just about the First Fleet, it’s about the stealing of the land, the misplacement of the stolen generation and the injustices that were done over the years, I think people need to be educated on why they don’t feel included on this day.” I do not have a date in mind at all, but yeah I think we certainly need to have a chat about Australia Day,” .

Johnathan Thurston believes Australians need to be more informed about why the date of Australia Day is hurtful to Indigenous people. See Part 4 below

Thurston, 36, who is set to retire from rugby league as one of the sport’s greats after the upcoming season, also urged governments to make Indigenous affairs a priority after an “alarming” failure to meet Close The Gap targets over the past decade.

“The Day of Mourning is an important day and I encourage Local Aboriginal Land Council members and community to support this event,”.

Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council Chief Executive Officer Nathan Moran said a re-enactment of the Day of Mourning would be held at Australia Hall in Elizabeth Street, Sydney from 10am and conclude with a silent protest march to Redfern Oval.

Aboriginal people have great respect for our leaders who fought for the human rights of First Peoples in Australia. That fight isn’t over and we need more of our young people follow the lead of Lyn Onus, Pearl Gibbs, Jack Patten, William Ferguson and William Cooper to achieve justice and equality for our people.

NSW Aboriginal Land Council see Part 5 Below

 ” Asking Indigenous people to celebrate on January 26 is like asking them to dance on their ancestors’ graves … Changing the date is a relatively simple task that can have an immense symbolic impact in demonstrating to Indigenous Australians that the broader community wants a national day where all Australians can celebrate together.

The chief executive of Reconciliation Australia, Karen Mundine, said 26 January could not serve as a unifying national day of celebration

 “In the broader context of this debate I believe that Aboriginal people are still more concerned about real solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s housing, education, health, employment and cultural maintenance, including our lands.

For our people, the arrival of Captain Cook and then British Settlement of Australia is a day of dispossession, death and disease. We require a new day of significance to include and celebrate our cultural survival, connection to country, family and kinship.

We call on all Community leaders across the states and territories to lead a national inclusive discussion and debate on why we need to change and nominate a new day for modern Australia to truly celebrate our diversity.”

Mr John Singer Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

Download Press Release HERE

NACCHO-Press-Release-A-call-to-Community-leaders

 

Part 1 National Congress

January 26, 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the Day of Mourning. On this day in 1938 a group of courageous Aboriginal men and women gathered at Australia Hall in Sydney.

Their statement said in part: “this being the 150th Anniversary of the Whiteman’s seizure of our country, [we] HEREBY MAKE PROTEST against the callous treatment of our people by the whitemen during the past 150 years.”

January 26, 2018 also marks the 30th anniversary of The 1988 Long March for Peace Justice and Hope, where 40,000 people showed their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. Let’s also not forget that now iconic image of 250,000 marchers crossing the Sydney Harbor bridge in support of reconciliation back in 2000.

On Friday January 26, 2018 National Congress will be supporting the Justice Through Treaty March from Redfern Park to Hyde Park. We encourage all Australians to reflect on this day and what it means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and then consider joining similar marches around Australia.

In preparation for January 26 discussions, National Congress has been conducting an “Australia Day – January 26” online survey on Facebook. Running now for over a week, we have captured the views of over 2000 members and non-members.

The results are clear. The call is for National Congress to support Changing The Date. In fact, the majority of our members (75%) and non-member (56%) are telling us that changing the date is “very important” for the reconciliation process. This issue, however, is not our sole-focus. National Congress is charged with advancing the interests of First Nations People across multiple portfolios.

As long as Australia Day continues to be held on January 26, we will continue the process of truth-telling about our history on this day. Australia needs to awaken to a truth: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have always been here and always will be. Australia’s national consciousness needs to mature, if we are to unite and form a new inclusive national identity.


Part 2 VAHS CEO CEO Statement: Change The Date Of Australia Day

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service·

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Cooperative Limited (VAHS) strongly supports the Change the Date of Australia Day campaign as we see on a daily basis the impacts it has on the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and our community members.

The VAHS suggests the new date for Australia Day should be 18th of May as a symbolic gesture signifying the birth of modern multicultural Australian Democracy.

The rationale behind the 18th of May, is that is represents the anniversary of the first time all Australians got to express their democratic rights together.

The 1967 Referendum recognized the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the 1973 legislative changes to allow all migrants to be citizens regardless of country of origin, the election of 1974 signified the beginning of the modern Australian era.

It also signifies the progressive bipartisan support demonstrated by the Whitlam government and Opposition leader Malcolm Frazer MP in their time to remove the ‘White Australia Policy’ and embracing cultural diversity for Australia providing social cohesion for Australian Citizens and our nation (Australian Citizen’s Act[1]).

The Australian government reaffirmed its commitment to ‘Racial Respect’[2] in 1996 in Parliament House stating:

‘That this House:

  • reaffirms its commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin
  • reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on grounds of race, colour creed or origin
  • reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage
  • reaffirms its commitment to maintain Australia as a culturally diverse, tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation, and its democratic institutions and values and
  • denounces racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of society we are and want to be.’

The statement was supported by the Opposition Leader and carried unanimously.

Australia Day should be a day of national celebration and appreciation of our shared Australian values, our diversity as a multi-cultural society and our way of life. The date 26th of January symbolises and celebrates the anniversary of the 1788 Arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships a constant reminder of the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of lives lost reliving the trauma loss and grief (National Day of Mourning).

A “Day of Mourning”

In 1938, The Day of Mourning was led by William Ferguson and Jack Patten representing the Aborigines Progressive Association describing 26 January 1938 as the “150th Anniversary of the whiteman’s seizure of our country”. The protest march bringing to the forefront of the callous treatment of our people by the whiteman and called for education, new laws and citizenship for Aboriginal Australians (http://indigenous rights.net.au/timeline).

It is important for other Australians to understand the intergenerational trauma felt by Aboriginal people caused by dispossession which is strongly linked to the ‘lack of control of over physical environment, of dignity, of community self-esteem and of justice’.

Three local Governments have led the campaign to Change the Date with City of Fremantle, City of Yarra and City of Darebin all taking steps which has now a national campaign led by the Leader of the Greens Senator Richard Di Natale MP to Change the Date of Australia Day[3] ( https://greens.org.au/change-the-date).

Pat Cash, a proud Australian, and an Australian tennis Great who ‘inspired’ Australian Tennis Teams to 2 Davis Cup Victories, recently made public statement that he would not be celebrating Australia Day as a result of his work with Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

In a recent national survey conducted by The Australia Institute results reported that 56% of Australians don’t mind when Australia Day is held and 49% believed that Australia Day should not be held on a day that is offensive to Indigenous Australians[4].

VAHS agrees with the Australian public surveyed that Australia Day should not be held on a day that is offensive to Indigenous Australian.

This year marks the tenth anniversary for two historical watershed moments, the National Apology and the bi-partisan signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent delivered and signed by the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd MP. These significant historic moments pave the way for other opportunities that brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians together.

VAHS’s suggested date of 18th of May can signify social inclusiveness of all Australians and a date to celebrate and recognize the Australia Day Citizens of the Year Awards for their contribution as Australian citizens.

The Australian government should recognize the community will to strengthen our nation by developing and shifting policies that create a strong sense of national identity. VAHS is calling upon the Australian government to take the steps to Change the Date of Australia Day and consider the 18th of May so we can strengthen and continue our Healing Journey.

In a year that will celebrate the anniversaries of political historical moments it now time to Change the Date of Australia Day.

Michael Graham – Chief Executive Officer

Part 3 Former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley urges Australia Day date change to boost health

Former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley says changing the date of Australia Day would have an “almost direct”, positive impact on Aboriginal health.

Joining the push to shift the national holiday from January 26, the Telethon Kids Institute patron acknowledged public opinion was split, but said she felt strongly the date was “unacceptable” and must be changed.

While changing the date would not do much to improve services, she expected the effect it would have on the mental health of Aboriginal people would be “quite profound”.

She said much of their trauma was linked to mental health issues, which led to substance abuse and problems associated with it such as domestic violence and maltreatment of children.

And while she was “all for” having an Australia Day, she did not want it to be January 26 because it was divisive.

He says the day we become a republic should be our national day instead.

“What these symbolic acts do is actually create a pathway to reduce that mental health anguish,” Professor Stanley told The Weekend West.

“One of our Aboriginal researchers has got data to show that even young kids, Aboriginal kids, their self-esteem is partly due to how they perceive the dominant culture perceives them.

“So if the dominant culture says, ‘We want to say sorry to Aboriginal people for what happened to them’, or, ‘We want to change the date’, then they are likely to say, ‘Oh gosh, they understand, they care so I’m not going to feel so depressed, I’m not going to feel so angry, I’m not going to drink, I’m going to be better’.”

 

Part 4 Johnathan Thurston backs calls for conversation on changing Australia Day date

Johnathan Thurston believes Australians need to be more informed about why the date of Australia Day is hurtful to Indigenous people.

Thurston, 36, who is set to retire from rugby league as one of the sport’s greats after the upcoming season, also urged governments to make Indigenous affairs a priority after an “alarming” failure to meet Close The Gap targets over the past decade.

Thurston said the country needs to “have a chat” about Australia Day.

On the anniversary of the First Fleet of British ships arriving at Port Jackson in 1788, Australians get a public holiday to celebrate the country’s national day.

There are calls to change the date of Australia Day to make it a celebration that is inclusive of the people who lived here before those ships arrived.

For some Indigenous Australians, January 26 marks the day when their land was no longer only theirs and in the years since there have been several calls to stop marking the day with celebration but with “mourning and protest”.

“It’s not just about the First Fleet, it’s about the stealing of the land, the misplacement of the stolen generation and the injustices that were done over the years,” Thurston said.

“I think people need to be educated on why they don’t feel included on this day.”

He said he didn’t have an alternative in mind.

“I do not have a date in mind at all, but yeah I think we certainly need to have a chat about Australia Day,” he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Johnathan Thurston was pointing out that some people don’t feel the date is inclusive of all Australians.

“I think Australia Day does need to be inclusive of all Australians, and it is a conversation that people will need to have and it is good that he is raising that issue,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Tomorrow I’m going to be here in Townsville for the Australia Day flag raising ceremony.

“As part of that ceremony there is an Indigenous welcome to country that is acknowledging our history.

The NRL superstar is Queensland’s Australian of the Year and one of eight finalists in the running for the national award to be announced in Canberra on Thursday.

Thurston said sport had given him a platform to pursue his passion of mentoring the next generation of Indigenous Australians.

“Our culture has been around for thousands of years and the way we’re going it’s not going to be around for thousands more,” Thurston said.

“We need to be making sure the Government is putting Indigenous affairs at the forefront of their campaigns.”

Part 6 Day of Mourning a key moment in Australia’s history

The 80th anniversary of one of the most significant events in Australia’s history – the Day of Mourning – will be honoured in Sydney today.

On 26 January 1938, Lyn Onus, Pearl Gibbs, Jack Patten, William Ferguson and William Cooper created the blueprint for political advocacy on Land Rights and civil rights by declaring a Day of Mourning for the devastating impact of colonialism on Aboriginal peoples.

The leaders of the Day of Mourning also issued a manifesto for a new deal based on self-determination and equality. In the days that followed, Jack Patten led a delegation of 20 Aboriginal men and women who met with Prime Minister Joseph Lyons.

The delegation recommended the Commonwealth assume responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs, which was realised 30 years later.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the leaders of the Day of Mourning must never be forgotten and their courage and determination should inspire every Australian.

“The Day of Mourning is an important day and I encourage Local Aboriginal Land Council members and community to support this event,” Cr Ah-See said.

Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council Chief Executive Officer Nathan Moran said a re-enactment of the Day of Mourning would be held at Australia Hall in Elizabeth Street, Sydney from 10am and conclude with a silent protest march to Redfern Oval.

“Aboriginal people have great respect for our leaders who fought for the human rights of First Peoples in Australia. That fight isn’t over and we need more of our young people follow the lead of Lyn Onus, Pearl Gibbs, Jack Patten, William Ferguson and William Cooper to achieve justice and equality for our people.

Apart from keynote speaker, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley and descendants of 1938 Day of Mourning organisers speaking, the day will also feature entertainment from Joe Geia as well as cultural smoking and dance performances

Part 6 Help

The APS and AIPA have developed self-care tips to help Australians cope if they are affected by the heated debate:

  1. Tune in. Tune into your feelings such as anger and distress. Acknowledge these emotions both to yourself and others. Talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust.
  2. Take a break. If you feel distressed by the public debate and social media posts consider limiting your feeds to stem the flow of divisive posts or log-off social media.
  3. Look after yourself. Help combat tension and fatigue by making time to do things you enjoy. Take care to eat well, stay hydrated, exercise and get good sleep.
  4. Channel your energy. Put your energy into positive actions. If you feel passionately about an issue get informed and get involved.
  5. Support each other. If you see cyber harassment, bullying or racism don’t ignore it. Report it and offer your support.
  6. Connect with others. Connect with your family and friends, this grounds us as community members.
  7. Connect with your community. Strong social and emotional wellbeing maintains our wellbeing through connections to body, mind and emotions, spirituality, land, community, families and culture.
  8. It’s okay not to talk. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about an issue it’s okay not to.

 

 

 

 

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