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Indigenous Australians Reflect on the Complexity of January 26



Indigenous Australians Reflect On The Complexity Of January 26

As Indigenous Australians prepare to commemorate January 26, a day filled with varying interpretations, surgeon Kelvin Kong urges the nation to consider the disparities in access to healthcare while acknowledging the complexities of the date. Given his recent appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service in Indigenous health, Kong highlights the need for a unified national celebration that brings harmony to the country.

Supporting Indigenous voices, the youth climate network Seed has published a guide for non-Indigenous individuals seeking to be good allies on January 26. The #ChangeTheDate campaign, which aims to reconsider the appropriateness of celebrating the day the First Fleet landed in Australia, has gained traction and will be marked by Indigenous-led protest marches across the country. Notably, Naarm (Melbourne) and Meanjin (Brisbane) are expected to have significant turnouts.

The Yabun Festival, hosted by the Gadigal Information Service at Victoria Park, Camperdown, offers a testament to the enduring strength and vibrancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Themed ‘Surviving, Guiding, Thriving’, the festival celebrates the resilience of these communities and features performances by Emily Wurramara, Mi-kaisha, and Frank Yamma, alongside talks and activities.

The Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation, representing survivors of the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls, will have a stall at the festival to educate visitors about the history of the Stolen Generations. These generations were forcibly removed from their families between the early 20th century and the 1970s, suffering physical, sexual, emotional, and cultural abuse in institutions like the Cootamundra Girls home. Alicia Bairle, CEO of the Coota Girls, stresses the importance of raising awareness of this recent and shocking history.

In addition to the festival, Yabun attendees will have free access to the Victoria Park Pool to cool off on the day.

Rachel Adams

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