Every SRC meeting (of the Council and Executive) begins with a Welcome to Country. “We meet on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation”. At the front of regular editions of this publication reads something along the lines of “Honi Soit is printed and distributed on [this] land”. The Welcome becomes a standard part of the process, another rung in the step-ladder of any remotely progressive bureaucracy.
It reminds us that we are the beneficiaries of a brutal and ongoing occupation of Indigenous land. It reminds us that the people dispossessed by British colonisation face ongoing structural disadvantage. Innumerable governments have consistently failed to address the racial inequality that permeates Australian society.
The importance of this act becomes easy to forget, with the standard phrasing mechanically etched into our minds. Of course, it is highly important. But the Welcome is not enough. It is not an excuse to turn a blind eye to the ongoing struggles faced by the Indigenous population. We are not simply meeting on the land of the Gadigal people; if we are not allies to Indigenous Australians and if we do not engage in activism and the fight for justice, we are a part of the system that continues to oppress Indigenous Australians.
Non-Indigenous Australians are the beneficiaries of stolen land, genocide, and ongoing racism against a disadvantaged group. And I’m not just talking about the things that happened decades ago. The NT intervention, one of the most disgusting government initiatives in recent times, has gone ahead in our lifetime. The way Australia has treated its Indigenous population is embarrassing.
We must never forget this, particularly as young people.
Get involved in fighting for justice. Educate yourself. Offer support instead of unsolicited advice.
Be aware. We live, learn, and work on land that was stolen.
It always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
The Stop the Intervention Collective, Sydney (STICS) meets at 6pm on Monday nights, NSW Teachers Federation Building, Level 1, 23-33 Mary Street Surry Hills.
Follow the Indigenous Social Justice Association on Facebook for updates on their regular meeting times.