Australia Day means different things to different people and this is especially true for the First Australians.
For many Indigenous Australians 26 January is an occasion to reflect on past loss and suffering.
There are also people in the wider community who share these mixed feelings about our national day and they are keen to acknowledge that Australia Day evokes a variety of emotions.
Today, organisers of Australia Day events are more mindful of Indigenous heritage and culture, and of the continuing problems faced in Indigenous communities.
Our national day is an important annual opportunity to recognise the honoured place of Indigenous Australians in our nation’s history, and to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation.
It is also a time for each Australian to think about our identity, the many aspects of Australian life that give us pride and areas where we have the opportunity to make the nation stronger for the future.
These reflections are individual and special to each Australian.
Even when my dream of reconciliation comes true, Australia Day will still evoke mixed feelings.
My own feelings about the day do not reflect any lack of loyalty or commitment to Australia – quite the contrary. They are about very deep emotions I have about this country and my people, about great wrongs in our shared history, and important steps that need to be taken to make things right.
Each year on Australia Day, I take myself somewhere quiet where I can sit and think.
It’s a day of reflection and mourning, a time to think about what the invasion of their country meant for my ancestors, and on the terrible suffering that continues for many Indigenous Australians. It wouldn’t make any difference if the date of Australia Day changed – this is what the day represents for me.
It may seem strange that someone as optimistic as I am should use this day to focus on the negatives, but for one day each year I allow myself to think this way.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
1 post so far.