Indigenous

TJ Hickey’s mother Gail Hickey led a march through Redfern to NSW parliament on the 15th anniversary of TJ’s death on February 14.

February 4 marked the 80th anniversary of the little-known 1939 Cummeragunja Walk-Off, when 200 Yorta Yorta people left the Cummera mission in southern New South Wales in protest against their mistreatment by mission bosses and the theft of their land.

Dr Wayne Atkinson, an elder of the Yorta Yorta nations of the Murray-Goulburn region, was one of a number of people who addressed a gathering of the strikers’ descendents at Barmah on the banks of the Murray River in Victoria.

A bucket of dead fish was emptied outside NSW minister for regional water Niall Blair’s office on February 7 as part of a protest to demand swift action on the water crisis affecting regional communities. The protest was organised by Fighting In Resistance Equally (FIRE).

Several hundred people from the Yuin nation and their supporters gathered next to the fishing trawler wharf for Survival Day on January 26 and listened to poetry, rock bands and several solo musicians including a didgeridoo player.

Organiser Rodney Kelly told Green Left Weekly he wanted to bring the NSW South Coast Aboriginal and the wider community together to promote the South Coast Aboriginal community, its history and what it means to be Aboriginal in the region.

Celebrating January 26 is a state-sanctioned exercise that rubs salt into the wounds of Indigenous Australia. It proclaims, “You lost, we won. Know your place.”

But the desire for an honest conversation about modern Australia's origins in the violent and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous people is not going away.

Across the country Invasion Day marches were both bigger than ever, and took place in many more places. More local governments have dropped their January 26 activities and finally the ABC allowed Triple J to shift its Hottest 100.

Staff at the Rorkes pub in Darwin walked off the job on January 22 after refusing to follow the owner’s orders to ban Aboriginal patrons from the premises.

If you want to celebrate January 26 by all means do: just be clear that you are celebrating those with so much wealth power that they will never need, nor want to, invite you to feast with them.

An online crowdfunding campaign set up to help Aboriginal women in Western Australia avoid jail for unpaid fines has raised $230,000 in its first four days and already settled the debts of 30 imprisoned women, with another 50 expected to be free in coming weeks.

In recent years there has been an important revival of Invasion Day marches on January 26. Together with the issues of Aboriginal sovereignty and ongoing injustices against First Nations people, Raul Bassi writes that a focus of this year’s protest will be Black deaths in custody.

[Please send additional Invasion Day protest and event details to editor@greenleft.org.au]

Adelaide

11am-6.30pm: 2019 Survival Day concert, MacDonald Park, Semaphore Beach
Hosted by Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
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