So this isn’t a random holiday and shouldn’t be treated as such but it is important and needs to be celebrated. Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum in Australia that eradicated section 127 of the Australian Constitution which banned Aboriginal Australians from being included as part of the population.
History Lesson: Australia was invaded by the British in 1788 to be used as a penal colony and much like the British with the Native Americans in America, some Aboriginals were used to navigate the land but most were kidnapped for “scientific purposes”, and I use that term very loosely, or killed. After a while British colonists and free settlers tried to “breed out the blackness” and this led to children being stolen from homes and harrowing birth of the Stolen Generation. In terms of rights, Aboriginal Australians didn’t have the right to vote until the 60s, way after women federally in 1901, and as stated above, weren’t even considered people until 1967 as it was written in the constitution that way.
History lesson aside, it’s important that we know this awful history so that the important process of reconciliation can begin. Of course we can’t reverse what happened in the past but we can educate the new generations and work on representation. Aboriginal Australians are still underrepresented in parliament and because of years of class oppression, Aboriginals are the highest sufferers of fetal alcohol syndrome.
The 1967 referendum, the Mabo case in 1992 for recognising land rights and Kevin Rudd’s Apology in parliament in 2008 are all important landmarks in the fight or recognition and reconciliation but the battle is half done.
Here are some helpful links for learning more about these landmark events:
What everyone can do is let people know about our horrible history, spread the word and educate. This isn’t a happy post or a happy topic because it isn’t a happy history, but it’s important. It’s so so important. Fight the fight for indigenous rights and make sure you let people know about today’s historic day.
What I learnt from National Reconciliation Day: Just because my Primary School and High School education was very whitewashed, doesn’t mean everyone’s as to be.