Changing the date of 'Australia day' is a small gesture compared to the intriguing future Aboriginal people are offering the Australian Government and the broader nation with a Treaty.
I invite Australians to recognise 'Australia Day' for what it is, a painful reminder of the denial (and worse celebration) of the continued unjust and ruthless oppression of the Aboriginal people and country through colonisation.
This is our 'Charlottesville', and worse because it's rooted in the core of our national development and constitution and spreads into the nation's lifestyle and psyche as identity.
When I think Australia, I think racist. There's no denying it is indeed colonial (aka white- whether you're white or not) supremacist thinking.
Do you doubt current racist policy as white supremacy? Take a look at the Australian Parliament and long running political (democratic) processes of oppression, moving full steam ahead with the recent trial of the 'cashless card'.
The name sounds like its economic freedom or a money management system, but in reality it strips the Aboriginal people's fundamental agency to access money and spend money. It is economic apartheid. It's not your white/black water fountain, it's your white/black bank account.
Is this really what Australians believe Aboriginals deserve? Total control? Believing 'we know better' whilst silently saying 'we are superior, that's why we have the power to make the rules'.
It seems Australia has mastered having money as a non aboriginal privilege!
Is this not shameless fascist racism? Our own 'Alt-Right?' holding onto to power pretending that we are the benevolent civilised (superior) commonwealth?
As you can see privilege is created, and the wealth is not common and Australia continues to demonstrate how to do that in the most creative and masterful fashion, by avoiding what it is, (white) colonial supremacy.
Yet despite this, Aboriginal people have been offering the undeserved (because we were not invited) acceptance that we are here now and only restorative pathway to liberation to its best extent, through a Treaty.
A formal recognition of their unfortunate position of being brutally and callously conquered by the commonwealth, also offers promise for a recognition that we now have the opportunity to become a post colonial country.
Instead of celebrating and legalising policies that are made for and on behalf of Aboriginal people, they deserve full agency through the Treaty to represent their own interests.
Power is rarely surrendered. Equality is a fight hard fought, against the interests that benefit from the power imbalance. But a Treaty says, the fight is over, a relationship is formed. Aboriginal people are inviting us into a new paradigm to co create a post colonial nation with them.
A Treaty has the potential to create a cultural shift that values life restorative links with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders through forgiveness of our colonial mistakes to become closer to people and country.
A Treaty represents an act towards fair relationship, aligned with the Aussie value of a 'fair go'. How about we aspire to that 'Aussie' value and simply apply it to Aboriginals?
A fair go is the opposite of colonisation, and although we identify it as an aussie value, it won't be truly an inherent national value unless it's applied to ALL. Only then will a 'Fair go' deconstruct colonial values of supremacy.
To co create a Treaty modern Australia can be in a fair relationship with people and country for the first time ever. We can redefine our own identity through unhinging the overidentification with the oppression of our colonial past.
When we give colonial values power by adhering to its abusive beliefs, laws and values we will see celebrations of Australia Day (imagine if Germany day was the day of the first gassing of Jews?). We over identify with the abusers and cant see the abuse and the system they created to oppress.
Riddle: What's better than sorry -but I can't change the past?
Answer: Being sorry enough to change the future.
We don't have to be colonialists anymore, no matter where we came from and when we came. I believe just as I as a white Australian longs for a new nation and culture of connection outside of the colonial relationship, so too, do many others - Aboriginal and non Aboriginal.
To redefine our identity outside of our genocidal maniacal culture and history (that we've proclaimed we condemn in others whilst brazenly enacting ourselves for over 200 years); is to finally halt oppression and leave the shame and brutality behind.
Every time we celebrate Australia day or any colonial values we continue to become our past again.
I am humbled by the opportunity to let go of our abusive past and for collective forgiveness and the gracious compassion Aboriginals allow for the children of the colony through the offering of a Treaty.
I say offering because it's not a begging or even an asking, it's the opposite, it's an offer of restorative forgiveness to strive for a fair relationship into the future. I am humbled by the opportunity to let go of the continued abuse our system based on supremacy inflicts. Their liberation from colonial oppression and racist genocide is our liberation from being a part of the commonwealth's global shame and continued perpetration.
Their desire for us to dismantle colonial supremacy is to be respected. We must become the people who try harder to co exist with dignity, respect and basic humanity with the oldest culture on earth together with the freedom to love and connect. Is the very least they deserve and an act that will be the ultimate over throw of the oppressive values and systems that colonisation thrives on.
A Treaty also represents not just a legal standing but it invites the greater nation (currently through the Crown) to look for values that are meaningful to both cultures. This means that we as a nation have a great opportunity to interweave Aboriginal languages, values, meeting protocols, traditions and sacred places into the fabric, psyche and identity of the nation as it co aligns to adjust the power imbalance. It allows more visibility of the incredible diversity and knowledge of the Aboriginal culture, will deepen our knowledge of each other, country and our responsibilities to it, through honouring ancient and custodial privileges.
The ancient knowledge Aboriginals are offering to share, is not just for their own survival but for ours too. Culturally we need to change the way we live from those colonial/conquering/consumptive values if we're going to survive climate change. We would be fools to identify with the values of colonisation and individualism that have taken us on this deathly march towards extinction in the first place.
Aboriginal knowledge and values of 60 000 years of sustainable resilience through eons of environmental change, from mega fauna to now, possess expert experience that could aid our human survival in the testing times ahead.
The treaty models values of cooperation that has enabled their culture to survive to date and are necessary for post colonial Australia to survive in the future. Together through a Treaty we can learn from Aboriginal values of custodianship/lore/resilience to reconnect us to the keepers of country and country itself. We stop being ghosts walking the land and thus discontinue the grievous colonial cultural environmental crisis.
With a Treaty we can finally create a national identity that is truly authentic, unique, diverse and deserving of the honour of co living in harmony with the most ancient Aboriginal people and culture.
A Treaty allows our identity to be formed from our shared relationship. Every time we celebrate Australia day or any colonial values we continue to become our past again, one sided and unfair.
To one day celebrate a Treaty day instead of Australia day will be a new era in human history. It will mark the beginning of our discovery of a post colonial identity rather than the discovery (brutal genocide) of a continent. Aboriginal people together with the many waves of people that have made this place their home, both colonial and non colonial, can recognise fully that, there is no other place on earth like Australia, and we have the gracious privilege of being here in a country and culture greater than our fleeting time here.