January 26 is a date that represents the beginning of genocide, colonisation and dispossession. It attempts to erase the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lived on and cared for Country for over 65,000 years.
For cohealth, January 26 is a time to reflect, deepen our understanding of our shared history and stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Australian First Nations peoples have been protesting the celebration of January 26 since 1938 – recognising it as a day of mourning and sorrow. As an organisation we stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on this issue.
Each year there is growing momentum to ‘change the date’, with individuals, councils and businesses advocating that January 26 is not an appropriate date to celebrate national pride. cohealth supports truth telling about our violent history and changing the date of our national day from January 26, so we can have an inclusive celebration of our national identity that best reflects the positive values and attributes we share as a nation.
Below we’ve outlined some ways you can deepen your understanding of the ‘change the date’ movement and stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
invasion day rally
The Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance have confirmed the annual Invasion Day Rally will go ahead with a COVID-19 safe plan. Attend the rally to protest the celebration of January 26.
When? January 26 at 10:30am
Where? Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne
invasion day dawn service
Attend or watch the Invasion Day Dawn Service to commemorate all Sovereign First Peoples who defended and died in the Frontier Wars, massacres across Australia, as well as those who continue to die in custody to this day. The Dawn Service will be televised.
When? January 26 at 5:30am
Where? Kings Domain Resting Place, Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne
share the spirit festival
Attend the Share the Spirit Festival created by Songlines, which showcases the diverse styles of music created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
When? January 26, 12 – 8pm
Where? Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Kings Domain Gardens, Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne
start a discussion
Talk to family, friends and coworkers about why January 26 is not a day for inclusive celebration. Read 10 things you should know about January 26 (External link to SBS News) to help deepen your own understanding.