Today is Invasion Day. If you’re a non-Indigenous person who lives on the land of the Eora nation – a place white invaders called ‘Australia’ – and you haven’t heard that this day is called Invasion Day, or Survival Day, or for some Sovereignty Day – have you been under a rock?
This is a day when we see the streets run blue and starry with people toting flags, beer boxes on their heads and beer bottles in their hands. It is a day that often peaks levels of violence, especially against women. If you’re a non-white person, it can often be a dangerous and intimidating day for you, as racism gets a free ride on the back of nationalistic hype.
Today, whities and non-whities drawn into overly sentimental discourse about “proud nations” and “what it is to be Australian” all miss or deliberately ignore – and in many cases, erase with derision – the genocide and abuses at the core of the birth of white occupation.
So how can we respond? I speak as a whitie with limited knowledge and only my own experience to go on, but speaking from there, I reckon there’s five things you can do to get the ball rolling.
Here are some things you can do to remember and respect the Indigenous owners of the land you are occupying, whether as a white person or a non-white settler who is non-Indigenous.
1. Read widely on the atrocities committed upon the Indigenous owners of the Eora nation during and after white invasion.
2. Read widely and begin to understand how things like the NT Intervention and income monitoring and control are racist functions of continuing white occupation.
3. Refuse to call today ‘Australia Day’.
4. Abstain from any celebrations your friends or family are holding. Let them know why you aren’t attending.
5. Look at what the Indigenous community are doing in terms of activism, strengthening and building their dynamic community and think about where you fit in that work.
I acknowledge as a white person living on occupied land, I have directly profited from occupation of land that isn’t mine. I have a lot to work on. I could be doing a lot more to listen to, think about and work for Indigenous people around me. Not being a racist dickhead should be pretty basic, though.
Go on, you can manage it. I know you can.