Thursday, January 28, 2010

survival day success

Belgrave was abuzz with people at Survival Day on Australia Day. Survival Day was an idea hatched by a handful of community members back in 2007 who wanted to run a community event that celebrated the survival of indigenous culture and heritage. The event has grown and grown over the 3 years it has been running. At this years event the crowd was bigger than ever with over 1000 people attending, it was also broadcast on 3CR community radio too, which was a fantastic addition to the day.

Aunty Dot Peters gave the official welcome.

Judith Durham OAM and Kutcha Edwards treated the crowd to Judith’s all inclusive version of Advance Australia Fair.

Nigel Wilkes and his dance troupe kept the crowd mesmerised with their dancing.

Uncle Henry Atkinson talked about history, the constitution and the terrible atrocities indigenous people have endured since the arrival of white man. Sparkleland provided entertainment for the kids and the Stray Blacks rounded off the program.

I have been proud to be a supporter of Belgrave Survival day since its inception. As part of the proceedings I spoke about some of the ongoing issues that need to be resolved in order to achieve reconciliation and self determination.

“….the Victorian Constitutional and Human Rights Charter provisions do not yet adequately recognise the prior occupation of Victoria by Victoria’s indigenous Peoples, nor does it recognise their strong cultural and spiritual connection to the land or their rights as owners and custodians of the land.

We have an obligation to recognise self-determination as a right of all Peoples recognised by international law and the UN declaration of rights of indigenous peoples….”

I went on to talk about the shire’s commitment to our indigenous community.

“The Shire of Yarra Ranges has a rich Indigenous history. In partnership with our Indigenous community, the Shire seeks to
- strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities
- raise awareness of Indigenous history and issues
- reduce Indigenous disadvantage by the provision of culturally appropriate services, and
- promote Reconciliation on an ongoing basis through our Reconciliation Strategy and Action plan….

….The Shire of Yarra Ranges council takes indigenous issues very seriously, we are one of the only municipalities in Victoria who employs a full time indigenous development officer to work with our indigenous community.

We are proud to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land. We are proud to fly the aboriginal flag. We recognise the uniqueness and diversity of our Indigenous community and we are committed to Reconciliation….”

“Indigenous communities in Victoria continue to face intolerable inequities in health, education, employment, the provision of public services and justice. We must focus on grassroots and state-wide solutions that result in local, regional and systemic reconciliation. We must eradicate individual and institutional racism. Only with these measures we can start to address these intolerable inequities and work to true reconciliation and self determination.”

“You have chosen to celebrate your Australia day by coming here committed to reconciliation and self determination and I thank you.”

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