Five useful things to do on Invasion Day instead of drinking beer.


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.

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About laketothelight

Feminist. Tea drinker. Cat snuggler. Canadian marryer. Queer. Fat. Lover of movement. View all posts by laketothelight

One response to “Five useful things to do on Invasion Day instead of drinking beer.

  • Peter

    I respect your point of view – agree with most of it actually – but think you view of Australia Day rather limited by stereotype. I know of someone swearing allegiance to Australia today I don’t think he’ll be wearing a beer box hat. I have no doubt you stereotypes will and I have a further conviction that the media will portray the negative mongrel dogs who don the flag and behave in a way the other 99% of us wouldn’t, as being representative.

    They aren’t.

    However, I see no reason for Australians – all Australians – not to celebrate the advances we have made socially, culturally, politically, even personally. We are still a young nation and there is much yet to be done. We have been led – for once – by political masters who have sought to make the first moves in recognition of the invasion our white ancestors undertook by apologising for patronising destruction of aboriginal families of the stolen generation. Since 1946, Australia has embraced peoples of all nations and finally, almost too late, the first peoples.

    We have to be aware of failures but equally should acknowledge our progress and what better day to do that than the anniversary of the invasion. Surely it might eventually be recognised as “The First Day”. I haven’t met an indigenous person who doesn’t want us to celebrate Australia Day, but within that celebration, we must recognise, acknowledge and embrace all meanings of the day … and we must all participate. Not too only encourages negative reaction from those whose “eyes were dull, their heads were flat and they had no brains at all.” (Paterson)

    Only then will we as a untied community see off the young hoons, with their racist white Australian Policy hang ups, misuse of our flag and stupid headgear. The notion that corrugated cardboard can insulate your brain is doubly ridiculous but typical of gilded youths.

    Perhaps some media domination by the other 99% might help too.

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