As we approach Australia Day, and as Living My Way prepares to develop its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), it is important that we look at the day through many lenses. With this in mind, Dr Lana Leslie, who will be assisting LMW with our RAP, and Living My Way CEO Mark have developed a joint statement for reflection by the team.
Australian people have different views about the 26 January.
- For many, 26 January is Australia day –a public holiday that celebrates the arrival of the first British Fleet on Australian soil. The day is celebrated with various events, including fireworks and sharing of meals with family and friends.
- For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, different views surround the 26 January. This day is known by various terms such as ‘Invasion Day’, because on 26 January 1788 (234 years ago), Sir Arthur Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove to claim the land as a British colony. This day represents the beginning of the long and brutal colonisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and lands. It includes stolen land, massacres, stolen children and widespread oppression, including oppressive laws and policies and attempts at cultural genocide to control and segregate Australia’s First Nations peoples. 26 January is seen by many as a day of mourning for all that was lost. It is still felt today. To listen to different views, watch the following – Aboriginal People Respond To “Australia Day” (2:55)
- 26 January is also known as ‘Survival Day’ for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The day has been reframed by many to recognise and celebrate the oldest living Indigenous culture in the world. A popular event is Yabun, held every year in Victoria Park, Broadway (public health orders apply). 2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of Yabun. While this is a live event, it is also available via live stream at yabun.org.au or you can tune in to Koori Radio 93.7FM and via the Koori Radio app.
Things to do on 26 January – Learn, Watch, Reflect, Celebrate
- Acknowledge our local Aboriginal communities
- Consider a moment of silence to reflect on our nation’s history
Living My Way’s First Reconciliation Action Plan
At Living My Way, 2022 is a significant year where we develop our first Reconciliation Action Plan. Reconciliation ‘At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians’ (Reconciliation Australia, 2020). A dimension of reconciliation is historical acceptance – that all Australians understand and accept the wrongs of the past and their impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. While it is important that Australia makes amends for past policies and practices, it is equally important to ensure these wrongs are never repeated. Historical acceptance includes learning about the history of Australia, in particular the history of the impact on our First Nations peoples since 26 January 1788. Learning about this history can be very challenging but this truth-telling is vital in contributing to reconciliation.
On a final note, Sutherland Shire Council is hosting a Sunset Cultural Ceremony at Burnum Burnum Sanctuary on Tuesday, 25 January at 5:00pm to 6:00pm. If you live near the area, it’s a great opportunity to bring your family and learn the stories and culture from Aboriginal elders, enjoy traditional dance and music. Find out more – https://shiretalk.com.au/australia-day-in-the-shire-2022/
We encourage all to acknowledge the day in a meaningful way to you.