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Issue #1669      January 21, 2015

Survival Day events

Survival Day events will be held around Australia on January 26, as much of the nation celebrates Australia Day. While the day marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Indigenous people will celebrate their continuing survival in a host of concerts and gatherings.

The first Survival Day concert was held in 1992, and since then it has become an opportunity to stand up and be proud of culture, to celebrate survival and to enjoy the talent of Indigenous artists, dancers and musicians.

All Survival Day events are drug-and-alcohol-free.

In NSW, the annual Yabun Festival will be held in Victoria Park, Camperdown, from 10am. The program includes a range of music, dancers and speakers. More details at gadigal.org.au

The Saltwater Freshwater Festival will be held this year at Coffs Harbour. Archie Roach headlines the music, with dance, story, art and craft, cultural activities, children’s and youth areas and workshops on the all-day program. More details at www.saltwaterfreshwater.com.au

In Victoria, the annual Belgrave Survival Day will focus on caring for country. Cay Donovan, Miss Hood and Joe Geia are on the bill, with a “Walk to Survival Day” from Belgrave Station car park planned. More details are available at belgravesurvivalday.org

Melbourne’s Share the Spirit Festival, organised by Songlines Aboriginal Music, will be held during the afternoon at the Treasury Gardens. Details at sharethespiritfestival.com

In Brisbane, Murris will both protest and celebrate on January 26. A rally will start at 10.30 at Parliament House in George Street, followed by a march to Musgrave Park for ceremonies, welcome to country, cultural activities, entertainment, kids activities and food stalls.

In Perth, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu will headline the Survival Day concert, which has an anti-smoking message. The activities, in the Supreme Court Gardens, also include The Merindas, Red Sand Beat and Urban Youth Crew with the Wesley College Dancers, and there will be a range of family-based activities, all starting at 1pm.

In Canberra, the Freedom Movement is scheduled to reach the front lawns of Parliament House on January 26. Members of the movement are encouraging locals to join in.

In Adelaide, activities, supported by Tandanys, will centre on the Semaphore Foreshore, with performances by Michael Collard (rapper Big Sexy) and Zacchariah Fielding (from The Voice Australia) with the CASM Soul Band. Stalls, children’s activities and dancing are also on the program, which starts at 11am. More details at www.tandanya.com.au/event

In Tasmania, a camp will be held on Aboriginal land on the island’s west coast. Activities will include trips to cultural areas, sand castle competitions, stories about local rock art, basket and hat making and yarning around the camp fire. Details from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre on 1800 132 260.

It was not known if Survival Day events would be held in the Northern Territory.

Freedom protest at Parliament House

Nearly 43 years ago, the first Tent Embassy was formed when four young men camped under an umbrella on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra.

This Survival Day, the newly formed Freedom Movement hoped it will not be four but 4,000 people who turn out in the national capital to protest.

“On January 26, the nation’s attention will be drawn to hundreds if not thousands of our people moving in for a sit-in just outside Parliament,” Freedom Movement spokesman Tauto Sansbury said.

“We are mobilising. We are heading to Canberra to reclaim the Aboriginal rights struggle, and the right for our voices to at long last be heard,” the Narrunga (SA) Elder said. “We as blacks will do the leading, however the struggle for what is right must be owned by everyone – white and black.

“We need everyone to drop whatever they intended doing on January 26 and onwards and rock up to Canberra.

“Forty-three years after the Aboriginal tent Embassy, far too many of our people are worse off.

“We must act now, as we did in 1972, because in waiting we will be robbed of every last vestige of whatever it is we are clinging to.”

Koori Mail

Next article – Ensuring Queensland’s survival

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