The City of Yarra voted to acknowledge January 26  in a culturally sensitive manner

Last night the City of Yarra Council voted to acknowledge January 26 in a culturally appropriate way. The decision was based on extensive conversation with the local Aboriginal community and feedback from an independent survey which indicated that 78.6% of non-Indigenous Yarra residents supported ''the idea of the Council holding an event to acknowlegde Aboriginal experiences of January 26.'' This includes referring to the day as ''January 26'' until a ''more appropriate'' term is nationally adopted. 

Today the AGE released a similar survey.

After last night's vote the council will officially support the #changethedate campaign and consider ways to lobby the federal government to change the official date of Australia Day. The council will also stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26 but will hold a small, culturally sensitive event featuring a smoking ceremony and acknowledging the loss of culture, language and identity felt by First Australians on this day.

The decision has received wide criticism by many including Prime Minister Turnbull who has said he is ''deeply disappointed'' by the decision and stripped the City of Yarra of their right to hold citizenship ceremonies.

"They are seeking to take a day which unites Australia and turn it into one which divides us," he said.

"To change the date of Australia Day would be to turn our back on Australian values, on the great achievement of 24 million Australians here in the greatest, most successful multicultural society in the world."

Still, in recent year a growing number of Australians have been ditching the words Australia Day for more sensitive titles such as Invasion Day, Survival Day and Sovereignty Day.

Yarra Mayor, Amanda Stone, has stood behind the council decision stating, "in the last 12 months there has been a groundswell of community support for change from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across the country. The community is looking for leadership on this issue," Cr Stone said.

Yarra council announced that it will work to educate non-Indigenous Australians about the sensitivity of this Day for First Australians. 

See the media release here.

Recognise Campaign is being ditched

After 5 years, the Recognise campaign is being ditched as First Peoples move away from encouraging symbolic recognition in search of more meaningful action such as Treaty/ies.

The campaign was launched in 2012 under Reconciliation Australia by then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

After the Uluru summit in May which delivered a unanimous decision that constitutional recognition was not a priority now, the Recognise campaign announced that it was planning to rebrand to suit the goals of First People.

Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair, Tom Calma AO said the organisation had made a valuable contribution.

"The Recognise campaign has made a significant contribution to building public awareness of the need for constitutional reform and recognition of the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation," he said.

Despite the dismantlement of Recognise, many say that the campaign was affective in adding to and generating the conversation around First Peoples rights. 

Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt has said that the campaign had ‘done its job’.

“I want to congratulate them on the work that they’ve done the awareness that they developed across this country and helping Australians talk about recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution,” he said.

“To all the people involved in recognition I want to thank you for the work that you did, your commitment and the way that you developed that awareness across this nation.”

 

 

 

 

The Annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture kicks off Friday 4th August, pushing for nationwide Makarrata

The Annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture kicks off Friday 4th August, pushing for nationwide Makarrata

The annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture will begin tomorrow, bringing together business leaders, international politicians, academics and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing Indigenous Australians. This festival is Australia’s leading Indigenous cultural exchange event and a national hub for major forums with discussion, policy and action formulation. It brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through youth forums, art, music, film, song, dance and stories.

No Justice, No Peace - Melbourne Rally for Elijah Doughty 

No Justice, No Peace - Melbourne Rally for Elijah Doughty 

Melbourne was brought to a standstill last Friday as crowds rallied together to protest the unjust sentence handed down following the death of 14 year old Aboriginal teenager, Elijah Doughty and the ongoing racial discrimination faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country. Hundreds of protesters marched from Parliament House to Flinders Street Station where they participated in a sit-in, coming together in a time of difficulty and outrage.

New Street Art Installation in Charcoal Lane, Fitzroy

New Street Art Installation in Charcoal Lane, Fitzroy

Gunnai Waradgerie artist, Robert Young has created an incredible street art mural located on the wall of Charcoal Lane, off Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. The mural, supported by the Yarra City Council, is called Celebration Dreaming and incorporates the past, present and future history of the area as well as referencing Aboriginal identity, connections and culture in Fitzroy and highlighting the significance of the area, and building, for the artist and for the local Aboriginal community. 

Aboriginal leaders encourage crackdown on fake Aboriginal-style souvenirs

With the influx of tourists expected in the Gold Coast, Aboriginal leaders are encouraging penalties for retailers who falsely claim their merchandise, such as Indigenous arts and crafts, boomerangs or didgeridoos, is authentic and made in Australia. 

Activist Sam Watson stated that "Far too often you see cheap knock-offs that are created in these offshore sweat shops that look good, sound good, and feel good, but they are not the genuine quality Aboriginal products — that money goes offshore and away from us." Watson is concerned fake souvenirs have been stockpiled by retailers in order to profit from tourists arriving for the Commonwealth Games.

In response, activists planning to name and shame retailers who do peddle fake products, but are encouraging State Government to also impose penalties, including confiscating fake items.

The Queensland Government has stated that penalties will be in place, with Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones saying, "this is the first Commonwealth Games ever to have a reconciliation action plan and we worked really hard to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have their language and their artwork as part of the Commonwealth Games." 

 

Aboriginal campaigner Aunty Matilda House honoured

Aunty Matilda House received an honourary doctorate from the Australian National University on Wednesday, the 14th of July. The 72-year-old is a pioneering Aboriginal campaigner in ACT as well as the first person to perform a "Welcome to Country" ceremony at the opening of Federal Parliament.

The pro-vice-chancellor of the university stated that the campaigner has a "long standing connection with ANU... Matilda was involved in the establishment of this [Tjaba Indigenous Higher Education Centre] back in 1989. She is [also] the patron of the indigenous network for ANU students that we launched here last year." 

Of the doctorate, Ms House said "This doctorate is a recognition of all of my ancestry, and of course, my children. Family is precious and acknowledges the past with all of us."

For more information, click here

Indigenous artist Peter Mungkuri wins Hadley's Art Prize

With his painting of his South Australian birthplace, Indigenous artist Peter Mungkuri has won the inaugural Hadley's Art Prize. The Hobart based prize, which aimed to award the painting that most clearly portrayed the Australian landscape whilst simultaneously acknowledging the past. The competition attracted 385 entries from across Australia. 

Mungkuri depicted his Aboriginal community of Fregon (Kaltjiti) in his painting, Ngura Wiru or Good Country. The painting told a personal story for Mungkuri, who said "This is my story about that creek at Fregon. I was born there. Back then we lived in the bush, slept in the warm sand and we lived on the bush tucker. That place is where it all started, that was my home. I love this country, it has watched us Anangu (people) for many years. It is a wise country."

For more information, click here, or visit the Hadley's Art Prize website

 

2017 Winners Announced in NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony in Cairns

2017 Winners Announced in NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony in Cairns

NAIDOC Week is drawing to a close for 2017. It has been another successful and inspiring time full of events and activities which highlight Indigenous achievement and celebrate the cultures, histories and languages of Australia’s First Peoples. 

At the official NAIDOC Awards Ceremony, the achievements of 10 inspirational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were celebrated and recognized as they were congratulated with awards in categories spanning academic, sporting, artistic and community achievement.

 

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2017

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2017

NAIDOC Week is almost upon us again, with many activities and events to be held across Australia. NAIDOC Week 2017 will begin on July 2nd, with the theme “Our Languages Matter”. The important awards ceremony will be held in this year’s host city, Cairns, however you can get involved all over the country.  

Sir Douglas Nicholls and William Cooper honoured in Shepparton mural

Hundreds of people have gathered to witness the unveiling of a nine-metre mural in Shepparton depicting prominent Yorta Yorta men, Sir Douglas Nicholls and William Cooper.

The mural is part of an ongoing Aboriginal Street Art project to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous people to life in Shepparton. This is a great way to remember and pay tribute to such important figures in our history.