On the first day of shooting ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ in Sydney on Wednesday, the actor Instagrammed a photo of himself with the Gamay dancers of the Gadigal and Bidiagal Nation. He thanked them for their Welcome to Country ceremony and called for the date of Australia Day to be changed.
“Indigenous Australians may be just as proud of this country, but many see January 26th as a date signifying the beginning of dispossession, disease epidemics, frontier violence, destruction of culture, exploitation, abuse, separation of families and subjection to policies of extreme social control,” he said, while tagging the film’s director Taika Waititi.
“Let’s begin the healing and stand together in unity and support with our First Nations people with solidarity and compassion.”
He continued: “Let’s find a date where all Australians can celebrate this beautiful country together.”
January 26, 1788 marks the date the British fleet (full of convicts) sailed into Sydney Harbour to start a penal colony, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encountering settlements.
It marks the beginning of the marginalisation of First Nations Australians and marks 233 years of violence and intergenerational trauma for people with Indigenous heritage. Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face more social, health and employment disadvantages than other Australians. The day is a reminder that sovereignty over the land was never recognised, there were never any treaties and that First Nations folk were not acknowledged in the constitution and still aren’t.
Australia Day has only been celebrated as a public holiday on January 26 since 1994 yet many conservative politicians refuse to consider the #changethedate campaign or acknowledge the date as a day of mourning for Indigenous Australians.
But there are plenty other public figures who do support the date change.
Model Jesinta Franklin said: “It’s time to abolish the date and as a country acknowledge that today is not the day to be celebrating. There is no pride in genocide.”
Liam Hemsworth acknowledged Australia’s First Peoples on January 26, 2021 by posting a tribute stating Australia “always was, always will be” Aboriginal land.
‘Today Extra’ host David Campbell said January 26 was not a day for celebration.
“My family and I acknowledge the pain surrounding today. We will not be celebrating. We will be listening and learning,” he said on his Instagram.
Comedian Meshel Laurie called for the date to be changed and asked people to donate to the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation.
‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here’ star Abbie Chatfield attended the Invasion Day protest in Brisbane during what she said was “a day of mourning”.
Thousands of people defied public health concerns on Wednesday and rallied across the nation against the mistreatment of the Indigenous people.
Around 2,000-3,000 people gathered in Sydney for a sit-down event, according to estimates by the New South Wales police. The handful of arrests were made for breach of public conduct rules and scuffling with the police, but the police said most protesters were ‘well-behaved’.
In Melbourne, television footage showed several thousand people marching through the city centre, many wearing T-shirts with the Aboriginal flag, while organisers tried to ensure social distancing rules were observed.
In Adelaide, an estimated 4,000 people gathered at a sit-down protest, while in Brisbane the crowd reached 5,000 people.
With files from Reuters.
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