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How can you mark January 26 respectfully?

Designer Laura Thompson. Source: SBS Murray

January the 26th marks the arrival of the First Fleet on Australian shores, the date chosen as it remembers Sir Arthur Phillip's claiming of Sydney Cove in the name of King George. The date has come to have different meanings for many Australians in the centuries since, but for First Nations communities it is a day of mourning. So how can you mark the day respectfully?

The catchcry 'Not a Date to Celebrate' is blazed across the chest of Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson.

She's surrounded by similar t-shirts, some bearing the Aboriginal flag, others emblazoned with 'Always Was, Always Will be Aboriginal Land'.

Her Melbourne-based fashion house is preparing for it's pre-January 26th rush.

And her garments are designed to be conversation starters.

Listenning, learning and understanding historical trauma is the advice from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre's Nala Mansell on how to be an ally.

Her organisation is taking the usual Invasion Day rally online this year due to the threat of COVID-19.

At least 300 massacres of Indigenous people took place in the centuries after colonisation, but there are likely many more deaths that went undocumented.

There were also many more deaths from disease, as well as the separation of families, the policies that resulted in what's become known as the Stolen Generations; the forced removal of children who were then placed into indentured labour.

 

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