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 consider 'Australia Day' a painful reminder of the denial and worse celebration of the continued unjust and ruthless oppression of the Aboriginal people and country through colonisation. Celebrating the day that marks the 'discovery' of Australia dismisses the beginning of a genocide of the worlds most ancient people and continuous culture.
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 the liberation of Aboriginals from oppression to its best extent, is through a Treaty.
A formal recognition of their original ownership to country also offers promise for a recognition that we now have the opportunity to become a post colonial nation.
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 accountability for our colonial mistakes to become closer to Aboriginal 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 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 over identification 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 like those of Australia Day, imagine if Germany day was the day of the first mass extermination of Jewish people?. We over identify with the abusers by continuing glorification of theft and murder 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 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.
The Aboriginal peoples desire for us to dismantle colonial supremacy is to be respected.
We must become the people who try harder to give up racism and colonisation with dignity, respect and basic humanity towards the oldest culture on earth and allowing the freedom to love and connect. It is the very least they deserve and an act that will be the ultimate overthrow the oppressive values and systems that colonisation thrives on.
A Treaty 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 historic 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. A Treaty will deepen our knowledge of Aboriginal people and country and our responsibilities to it. Through honouring ancient and custodial privileges with a Treaty, . it will more importantly respect Aboriginal's and the continuation of their profound 60,000 year old culture.
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 and 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 over 60 000 years of sustainable resilience through eons of environmental change, from mega fauna to now, possess expert experience in sustainability and resilience that could aid Australian's survival in the testing times ahead.
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 humans and culture, the Aboriginal people and country.
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, we have the gracious privilege of being here in a country with the permission of a culture with a mind boggling legacy of human longevity far greater than our fleeting time here.