- Australia Day, Invasion Day, Survival Day, or change the day?
January 26 is a day which carries very different meanings for all Australians. Be it referred to as Australia Day, Invasion Day or Survival Day, all Australians are free to celebrate or not celebrate it as they wish – our ancestors and the men and women who fought for our freedom have ensured this. However, for many Australians, January 26 is not a day of celebration.
- What are your plans for 2017, January 26th?
My family and I will be attending the Yabun Festival (Victoria Park, Camperdown), this is where all our mob get together and commemorate our culture and our survival. The event starts at 10am and finishes at 7pm and is packed full of activities, musical and dance performances. This is a truly wonderful opportunity for all Australians to immerse themselves in and experience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
- In 2016, the nation and the world became more aware around the injustices in youth detention centres, police brutality in Aboriginal communities, and the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Do you believe that the world will get better or worse with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights in the near future?
I am hopeful that the heightened awareness of injustices towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will bring about a positive change. In addition to awareness, I strongly believe that education and understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is pivotal in overcoming injustice.
- Everyone I have spoken to agrees that the history and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were poorly delivered during their high school education. How do you suggest non-Indigenous people continue to learn more about our first nation’s people?
Learning about and experiencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is not just exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our culture is the longest continuous culture and is built on the foundations of the spiritual connection to country and family which everyone could learn greatly from. I have encountered a lot of people who have very limited knowledge of our wonderful culture and this knowledge was mainly attained through media coverage such as the news. Unfortunately, this mode often only presents a negative portrayal of our people. My response is, find out the information for yourself to form your own knowledge base – do your own research, speak to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and attend cultural events such as Yabun or any events held by the Indigenous Student Council at university. I strongly believe that when an individual obtains an understanding of something, this in turn, increases the individual’s level of care and responsibility.
- What is your message to all people this coming January, 26?
My message to all Australians on January 26 would be just as relevant on the other 364 days of the year: we need to as a nation acknowledge the past, work together in unity and collaboration today to create an equitable and harmonious future for ALL Australians.
Interview by Ian Escandor
The W’SUP acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
“Lynette Brown is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Yuin nation. Lynette is also the Convenor of the Western Sydney U Indigenous Student Council at WSU.
The Western Sydney U Indigenous Student Council aims to create a sense of community and inclusion for all Indigenous students from all Western Sydney University campuses. The council manage and organise social, recreational, community and cultural activities in collaboration with their members. The council drive and manage dialogue on topical issues, social awareness and environmental matters for members. The Indigenous Student Council also participate in programs which actively give back to community.”