Nathan Appo writes:
I’m an Indigenous man from Innisfail living in Brisbane and I love Australia.
This year I will celebrate #SurvivalDay in recognition that Aboriginal people of Australia have overcome genocide, imprisonment, have had our country taken from us, and yet remain to be the longest known living culture in the world.
I will do this by educating all cultures Indigenous, non-indigenous and anyone who wants to listen and learn about #SurvivalDay.
I encourage everyone to follow my lead. Not everyone can march, not everyone can speak at a rally but I can educate someone around #SurvivalDay and what it means to me. It’s important for all Australians to learn about Australia’s real history behind #SurvivalDay
I have always said we can’t use hate to fight hate, but education is the key.
If we can each educate five people on our history, and help them to understand what Survival Day means to us, I believe we will gain a sense of peace that will bring us closer to the reconciliation we need. The reconciliation Indigenous people deserve.
I will be posting on social media using “#SurvivalDay” and I encourage you to do the same. Using this tag, I will be posting photos of myself with each person I have discussed #SurvivalDay with. In these photos we will hold up a sign that reads “#SurvivalDay”.
At the end of this article you’ll find a print-friendly version of the sign I’ll be using. I encourage you to use it too, or alternatively, write your own points (in the spirit of education and reconciliation) about what #SurvivalDay means to you.
My sign will contain the following:
- How much I love living in this beautiful country.
- Many Indigenous people don’t celebrate Australia day because it’s a day of mourning for Ancestors killed and moved from our lands, and the violation of our right to practice our cultural.
- Instead, many Indigenous people acknowledge this day as #SurvivalDay to celebrate the survival of Indigenous culture and our people.
- Australia Day should represent all Australians, so let’s change the date and recognise Australia’s First People, the world’s longest known living culture, together.
- Personally I would like to see the date changed so it can represent a united Australia and more importantly acknowledge Australia’s Indigenous people, a day we can all celebrate together.
These points are my own thoughts and hopes for the future; they don’t reflect everyone else’s thoughts, only my own.
You can write your own five points to reflect what you believe. For example, if you believe Australia Day’s theme should change, rather than the date, you can also say that.
Everyone’s opinion is valid and valued.
These are a few points I will discuss on #SurvivalDay. If you would like to be involved, please follow my lead talk to someone about #SurvivalDay: discuss what Survival Day means to you, post up a photo, hashtag #SurvivalDay and tell us about it.
As a twitter community we can create change and educate together; to get #SurvivalDay trending would be an awesome achievement.
Let’s bridge this gap together and move into the future, united.
Reconciliation is everyone’s business.
* I thank Karen McPhail-Bell for her help in shaping this idea & documents.
• Also recommended reading: Dr Chelsea Bond on “why this really should be a day to commemorate, not celebrate”.