AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

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AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

What does Australia Day mean to me?

I wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land, 
To the Elders past and present. 
I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution 
they make to the life of this land 

Facts

  • The 26th of January commemorates the landing of Captain Cook on these shores and the commencement of white settlement in this land.
  • This day is known by the First Australians as Invasion Day the beginning of a period of division, deprivation, war, ongoing breaches of human rights, and genocide.

These facts cannot be changed or undone in any way – this is the history of white settlement in Australia.

My Position

  • By accident of birth, I am a white Australian female.
  • Well educated, middle-class background. I am retired, a full-time student, a wife, and a grandmother.
  • I understand I speak from a position of white privilege.
  • I am a 5th generation born in this land

How do we move forward

  • I don’t know –  I acknowledge the facts that this land I call my home was invaded and thousands and thousands were massacred and that prejudice and injustice remain part of the society we live in.
  • I am sorry for all of these actions
  • I do acknowledge the collective responsibility of all citizens and governments for past actions.
  • I acknowledge the actions of the succeeding governments that have not been inclusive of our First Australians and have restricted their place in the democratic processes of government
  • Our First Australians  MUST have the same rights and obligations and be treated as full citizens of this bountiful land.
  • These rights and responsibilities MUST be enshrined in law
  • Prejudice and deprivation MUST be abolished
  • All of us need to work together to move forward – it is impossible to turn back the clock, and we can work for inclusiveness, freedom from discrimination and learn to share this beautiful land together.
  • I was excited to learn that maybe, my great great grandfather, was possibly a Boon Wurrung man and so disappointed to discover he wasn’t.
  • I wonder at the sense of belonging to country that our First Australians feel – I would love to have that deep and abiding understanding connection to this land.
  • I do have a sense of wonder at having had the honour of being born in this great country.
  • I feel like the adopted child –I am fortunate because, my forbearers –  made a conscious decision to make this beautiful place their home.

What I cannot do

  • I can’t change the past
  • I can’t change the colour of my skin
  • I can’t feel your pain because I am not you.

What I can do

  • I can speak up about Aboriginal deaths in custody
  • I can condemn racial profiling
  • I can lobby and speak out
    • against oppression and prejudice
    • for greater improvement in the provision of education
    • for better delivery of heath services
    • for better living standards
  • I can become better informed about how I may help others understand the need for true reconciliation
  • I can denounce racist attitudes
  • I can refuse to laugh at racist jokes
  • I can refuse to discriminate against people because of the colour of their skin
  • I can acknowledge the acts of the past and present and say I am sorry that these have occurred and mean that statement with my whole being
  • I can empathise and support

 

I believe change is possible and that it starts with you and me

Healing in this country requires a lot of love, courage, and honesty and the belief it is possible. Where there is true care, there is very little division.

—Official website of the movie Kanyini

Today I pay homage to one of the greatest Australians I have ever met,  a  proud Yorta Yorta man  Sir Douglas Nicholls.

doug-nicholls
He was born in Cumeroogunga, near the Murray River in New South Wales, and was Australia’s first Indigenous state governor.(1906–1988)

 

 

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About lindandsam

Linda is a poet and writer. She is a student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) completing Bachelor of Creative Writing. Published in the USC Storyboard, 2015. Self-published ‘Where is Gedhum Choekyi Nyima?’ For the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamsala, 1997. She lives in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and shares her life with her partner and their four-legged fur babies Hugo and Tashi-la, and their second-hand book shop.

5 responses »

  1. I totally agree with every thing you’ve said – this is an unusual stance for me! But you’ve said it well and clear, thank you. You may want to read my poem “Celebrate?’, it comes from another angle.

    Liked by 1 person

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