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As January 26th Looms, Here Are The Ways To Show Up And Support Our First Nations People

We may not be able to change the past, but we can change the future

As the first month of 2021 continues at warp speed, one particularly looming date is almost here: January 26th

A date that was once heralded as Australia’s most ‘prideful’ has since become one filled with shame, each year forcing a rightful spotlight on how far we, as a nation, still have to go to support and properly acknowledge the traditional custodians on whose land we currently stand. 

The date symbolises the beginning of a violent and traumatic history for Australia’s First Nations peoplesthe day British invaders arrived and claimed the land, leaving in their wake a culture massacred, dispossessed, and stripped of its identity. 

Over the past several years, Australia’s First Nations peoples—and allies—have called for the date to be changed.

Their reasoning is simple: that celebrating our national pride and unity on a day that signifies itself as one of mourning for our First Nations population is insensitive. 

This year the call is perhaps louder than ever before, catalysed by the Black Lives Matter movement that placed newfound and much-needed attention on the lingering racial injustice that still exists in this country.

As a result, 2021 is the year many Australian businesses and institutions have dropped their ‘Australia Day’ celebrations in solidarity—most recently, Cricket Australia, much to the dismay of prime minister Scott Morrison

But despite this, it remains the same. 

(Credit: Getty Images)

Although Australia’s non-Indigenous population can’t begin to understand the intergenerational trauma associated with this particular date, what we can do is show up and support our First Nations peoples, look to the future and dismantle the systems of oppression that our ancestors built. 

Each year, protests, demonstrations, and rallies are held around the country to raise awareness of the issues currently faced by First Nations communities, including Blak deaths in custody and raising the age of criminal responsibility. 

Thanks to informative and educational resources, such as @blakbusiness, we’re shining a light on some of the ways to show support on January 26, 2021. 

Show Up 

One way to put your ally foot forward this year is to show up for our First Nations peoples. Given the pandemic, the usual ways of attending dawn services or rallies are not possible, but plenty are being put online to be live-streamed on the day.  

@blakbusiness has shared a summary of some of the events taking place. You can also look to your local Aboriginal Land Council website or search Facebook events to see what’s happening in your local area. 

As always, remember to stay COVID safe if you do plan on attending a physical event. Wear a mask and keep your distance.

Below, look to Blak Business’ Instagram carousel for local events. Be sure to look in the comment section of the below post, many commenters have shared local events taking place next week.

Other Invasion Day Events Happening On January 26, 2021: 

Ballarat’s Survival Day Dawn Ceremony (live-streamed)

Yabun Festival (live-streamed)

(Sydney) WugulOra Morning Ceremony 

(Victoria) NAIDOC 2021 Day of Mourning Dawn Service 

(Adelaide) Tandanya Survival Day 2021 

(Perth) Birak Concert

Twitter user Tom Tanuk has also posted a detailed thread with more local events taking place, which you can see here.

If you’re looking to beat the crowds, National Indigenous Television (NITV) and SBS have an incredible line up of programming scheduled for January 26. It kicks off with Sunrise Ceremony, hosted by NITV’s John Paul Janke and features Network 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs. For more information on what’s on and how to tune in, head here

Share Information/Resources You Find Helpful

One of the easiest ways to show your support, both on January 26 and beyond, is to share social media content that you find helpful or informative. 

“Social media solidarity is powerful in spreading information and doesn’t cost you anything,” says Blak Business. 

Consider The Impact Of Participating In ‘Australia Day Sales’

While it might be tempting to purchase that particular item you’ve had your eye on since Christmas, Australia Day sales from brands that are not First Nations-owned are profiting off a day of mourning. 

Blak Business encourages that if you are a business open on January 26, consider donating a portion of your profits to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander spaces. Similarly, if you’re a worker that is receiving penalty rates on the public holiday and have the means to do so, consider donating.

Support An Aboriginal And/Or Torres Strait Islander Space 

It should not just come as a consideration on January 26, but all days, to support a First Nations-owned business wherever you can. 

There are so many incredible people and places to do so, from jewellery, art, food, clothing and art. 

  • See here for a list of First Nations charities and organisations to donate to.
  • See here for a list of First Nations-owned brands to support. 
  • See here for a list of First Nations-owned fashion brands to shop.

A huge thanks to the team at Blak Business, who’s informative and educational resources provided much of the information above. 

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