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Standing in Solidarity

Solidarity with the First Australians

By Lachie Mulcahy
Creative Communications Manager

This Australia Day, Oaktree stands in solidarity with Indigenous Australians.

It is only a new tradition, as recent as 1994, that the 26th of January has been celebrated as Australia Day. For many, it is a time to celebrate Australian values and spend time with friends and family.

For many Indigenous Australians, it is a day of mourning that represents the pain and suffering of the past. It is a day that marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, and the cultural genocide, violence and institutionalised racism that followed it. Australia Day is their Survival Day, their Day of Mourning, their Invasion Day.

Max Edwards shares her #storiesofsurvival. Read the full article here

“I tend to prefer the term Survival Day rather than Invasion Day as it puts our peoples at the forefront of the conversation and I think that is something that tends to get overlooked by a lot of other people and sometimes our own people can forget all the things we’ve been through, that we’ve come out of.”

-Max Edwards, Student. 

Indigenous Australians were the first Australians. They have been the custodians of the land for thousands of years. They often have a deep spiritual and cultural connection to Australia that many of us cannot imagine. Yet the first Australians are seriously under-represented in the celebrations of our national holiday.

While we cannot change the past, we can take steps to mend it.

One important step towards reconciliation is solidarity. That means showing understanding and compassion, and standing together with First Australians to show them that they have the support of the community behind them. When we stand united, our country is stronger and safer for everyone.

 

Sydney demonstrators showing solidarity in 2016. Read more at Al Jazeera.

Solidarity also means equal representation in culture and media. Indigenous Australians deserve every opportunity to have their voices heard and their stories told. This is especially true when celebrating Australia’s history and culture. First Australians have some of the richest cultural traditions in the world, and we should be proud to be able to celebrate them.

ABC journalist and indigenous Australian Stan Grant is just one example of the value of Indigenous representation in our media. Stan challenges negative stereotypes and advocates for Indigenous Australians to take control of their own narrative.

 

Read Stan Grant’s full article at SBS NITV

“We don't have to be defined by other people, we don't have to live with the tyranny of low expectations. We can make our way, we are as smart and talented and as dedicated and committed, and we can work as hard as anyone else. It's as simple as that for me.”

-Stan Grant, ABC journalist and Wiradjuri man.

Solidarity also involves acknowledging the pains of the past and the ongoing challenges that Indigenous Australians face. By educating ourselves and being aware of the crimes endured by the first Australians, we can work towards a society where Indigenous voices are heard and respected.

This Australia Day weekend, Oaktree stands in solidarity with the first Australians as they fight for a more inclusive national holiday, and a more equal society.

If you want to learn more, read and share Amnesty International’s great article here.