The Aboriginal perspective of Australia Day
To many Aboriginal people there is little to celebrate and it is a commemoration of a deep loss. Loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family, loss of the right to practice their culture.
“Australia Day is 26 January, a date whose only significance is to mark the coming to Australia of the white people in 1788. It’s not a date that is particularly pleasing for Aborigines,” says Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell . “The British were armed to the teeth and from the moment they stepped foot on our country, the slaughter and dispossession of Aborigines began.”
Aboriginal people call it ‘Invasion Day’, ‘Day of Mourning’, ‘Survival Day’ or, since 2006, ‘Aboriginal Sovereignty Day’. The latter name reflects that all Aboriginal nations are sovereign and should be united in the continuous fight for their rights.
Mensell believes that Australia celebrates “the coming of one race at the expense of another” .
“Australia is the only country that relies on the arrival of Europeans on its shores as being so significant it should herald the official national day,” he says . “The USA does not choose the arrival of Christopher Columbus as the date for its national day. Like many other countries its national day marks independencE.