River of Tears – 223 years

River of Tears banner at AUSSOUNDS concert at South Bank Brisbane on Invasion Day

On the evening of the 26th January a group of friends went into the AusSounds concert at Southbank, Brisbane, a free concert to celebrate Australia Day.

During a break in events we stood up with banners, symbolically bloodied Australian flags, leaflets and our voices to disrupt the celebrations. We did this to send the message that attempted genocide is not something to be celebrated.

The 26th January 2011 marks the 223 anniversary of Invasion Day, a day that initiated against the Indigenous peoples of this land massacres, the stolen generations, stolen wages, racism, assimilation, black deaths in custody and, most recently, the Northern Territory Intervention.

The consequences of Invasion Day 1788 have not ended, history has not finished. Nobody has forgotten the 26th January, not the non-Indigenous (still celebrating), and certainly not the Indigenous. “Australia Day” continues to rub salt into the wounds of dispossession.

We are a varied group of people – descendents of white ‘settlers’, descendents of migrants and migrants ourselves, our commonality is our belief in the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples on this land, and our disgust in the celebration of continuing dispossession.

We recognise there are many Indigenous peoples on this land, of different clan groups as well as different political persuasions. As a group we situate ourselves in solidarity with those that continue to be uncompromising in their claims to land sovereignty and total self-determination.

“There can never be reconciliation while ‘Australia Day’ is celebrated on Jan 26th… To us it marks the start of assimilation, land theft, murder, poisoning, and death – how can any reasonable person celebrate that?”

“Well there’s a cold rain on the Autumn wind
A brother murdered in Sydney Town
They shot him down
Sad river of tears
Two hundred years in the river of fear”
Kev Carmody

Always Was, Always Will Be, Aboriginal Land.

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