Aboriginal Australia marks Survival Day

Many Aboriginal people will mark what they call Survival Day today, and want the date changed from January 26.

Many Aboriginal people will mark what they call Survival Day today.

They want Australia Day to be moved from January 26, the date chosen to commemorate the landing of the first fleet on Australian shores in 1788.

They\'re backed by new Australian of the Year Mick Dodson, who says the nation\'s mature enough for a debate on the date, a year on from the apology to the stolen generations.

University of Queensland deputy director of Aboriginal Studies Sam Watson says the swearing in of black US president Barack Obama has stirred the emotions of Aboriginal people, with many feeling left behind.

Mick Dodson says the date of Australia Day needs to be changed because January 26 "isolates" indigenous people.

The Aboriginal leader and academic was named Australian of the Year by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a ceremony outside Parliament House in Canberra on Sunday night.

Mr Rudd thanked the Yawuru man, 58, for his lifetime commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal people and in helping to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Immediately following the official ceremony, Prof Dodson called for a "national conversation" about changing the date of Australia Day, which commemorates the landing of the first fleet on Australian shores in 1788.

The nation was mature enough to have that discussion following the federal government\'s apology to the Stolen generations last year, he says.

"We have to have a date that\'s more inclusive than January 26, which is the date that\'s chosen as the landing of the

first fleet at Sydney Cove," Prof Dodson told reporters.

"To most indigenous Australians it (Australia Day) really reflects the day on which our world came crashing down.

"Many of our people call it invasion day."

Source AAP

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