The 26th of January is a complicated day for Australians. While many still celebrate this date as Australia Day, the event is one that brings a lot of pain and sadness to First Nations communities. January 26, Invasion Day, is a marker of the beginnings of the colonisation of this country – and for Indigenous Australians, it is a time of deep mourning.
January 26th is a day of mourning. Wear black on this day and join with us to mourn and remember the men, women and children who died fighting for this country. #NoPrideinGenocide
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) December 30, 2020
If you are hoping to act in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during this particularly painful time (though you should be doing so every day, not just on January 26), there are a few significant ways you can do that right now.
Using the resources shared by the many, many incredible First Nations voices we’re lucky to have access to, we’ve pulled together a list of actions you can take to help support Indigenous Australians on January 26 (and beyond).
Check them out below.
1. Attend a rally on January 26:
Every year, you’ll find there are a number of rallies and events recognising Invasion or Survival Day on January 26. These range from protests to smoke ceremonies, to celebrations of culture and tradition.
Great lengths have been taken to ensure these events are COVID-safe, so be sure to wear masks, keep your distance from others and if you’re feeling unwell, please stay home and support the cause from there.
ANTaR has shared a list of significant events for January 26, 2022, broken down by state, here.
2. Take some time to educate yourself:
Clothing The Gap spoke with Urban List Melbourne in 2021 about what folks should do instead of celebrating Australia Day. In this piece, the team behind Clothing the Gap suggested that you “acknowledge and respect” the nature of this date for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Spending the date learning about their experiences and cultures is a great starting point for reframing your understanding of January 26. Check out ANTaR’s write up on the date here.
This certainly doesn’t need to start and end with this one date, I should point out. In fact, it really shouldn’t (there’s a lot to learn). And if you’re not sure where to start, you could always begin by learning what country you’re on or perhaps educating yourself on the importance of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
3. Make a donation:
Blak Business has shared a long list of examples of the ways in which we can act in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on January 26.
One of the suggestions given by Blak Business (which was founded by Olivia, a Koori woman descended from Wiradjuri Country) is that you donate your penalty rates if you are asked to work on the public holiday.
Organisations like Blak Business itself accepts donations to help support work in educating and spreading awareness on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues. You can also support the likes of ANTaR, the Healing Foundation, The Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), Human Rights Law Centre (this is just a start, there are many more).
4. Support Indigenous-owned businesses:
Again, this tip was shared by Blak Business on its Instagram account. If you’re going to make a purchase on Invasion Day (or honestly, just ever) consider whether you could support an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owned business by purchasing from them.
From skincare to art, there is a long list of options available for you. But to help kick you off, Blak Business has a few gift guides available on its website. You can also consult this list of First Nations creators and artists, written by our very own Ky Stewart.
5. Have an uncomfortable conversation:
As Clothing the Gap shared with Urban List last year, conversations with those close to you about the importance of recognising the significance of this date – and the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – are a must.
They may not be comfortable, but having these discussions is a much-needed step in helping our communities grow in respect and understanding.
This article on Invasion Day, January 26, has been updated since its original publish date.