The Aboriginal flag was lowered to half-mast outside Kingborough Council chambers on January 26.
Representatives of weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation (wAC) and South East Tasmania Corporation (SETAC) joined with the Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter and Cr Gideon Cordover to acknowledge January 26 as a day of mourning for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Following a request from wAC and SETAC, the Kingborough Council’s general manager agreed to lower the Aboriginal flag to half-mast to recognise the day and show support for the community in Kingborough.
“On January 26 in 1788, Sir Arthur Phillip claimed the land now known as Australia in the name of King George III,” explained Uncle Rodney Dillon.
“This marked the start of massacres, dispossession and suppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“We are hurting on this day.
“We remember our ancestors who fought and lost against the invaders.
“Who were moved off their lands onto isolated islands where they were not allowed to speak their language, manage their land and water, or practice their culture.
“Who were murdered en masse so that this land could be colonised by a faraway people.
“We don’t want to continue fighting, we just want people to listen and understand our pain and suffering,” Uncle Rodney stated.
“This is a day of deep mourning and remembrance and it’s not a loss we can easily ‘get over’ as so many people would like for us to do.
“It’s a start that Mayor Winter from Kingborough and Mayor Enders from Huon Valley, have been supporting and working with us.
“We look forward to further developing and strengthening those relationships as we continue to fight for our rights.”
Mayor Winter said agreeing to fly the flag at half-mast was an easy decision.
“When weetapoona and SETAC asked us to fly the aboriginal flag at half-mast, we were happy to agree,” Mayor Winter said.
“Australia Day is such a great opportunity to celebrate our nation is and how lucky we are to live here, but I’d love to see it moved to a different date so that our whole community can celebrate it.”
Co-Chair of weetapoona Laura Butler thanked the thanked the councils for their support.
“We thank both the Kingborough Council and Huon Valley Councis for their continued support for our people,” Ms Bulter said.
“We need allies to listen deeply to us and recognise our pain.
“Lowering the flag to half-mast to recognise this means a lot and it gives us some hope that people are starting to hear us.
“We held a vigil in Cygnet to start the day remembering our old people and honouring their spirit and we’d like to thank all those who turned up to stand by us.
“There were community members, locals, councillors and even travellers who came along to support us.
“It was very a very moving ceremony and we hope that everyone will continue to have meaningful conversations with their families, friends and colleagues as to why this day is so painful for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“It is the only way we can move forward together and find a way, and another day, to celebrate as a country.”
Kingborough Councillor Gideon Cordover said it was a privilege to stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples.
“It was my privilege to stand with members of SETAC and weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation outside the Kingborough Council Chambers with the Aboriginal flag flying at half-mast to commemorate Invasion Day,” Cr Cordover remarked.
“January 26 is a day of mourning.
“It is not the appropriate day for a national celebration.
“It is, however, an opportunity for us to stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples and respectfully reflect on our true history and what actions we can take to help right the wrongs of dispossession and oppression.
“Sovereignty was never ceded.
“Today marks 233 years since the start of a protracted regime of colonisation, the impacts of which are still being felt by First Nations peoples.
“On this day, and every day, we can show our allyship with First Nations peoples by encouraging truth-telling, starting work on treaties and improving mechanisms for self-determination.
“This is how we can move forward together.”
CAP: The Aboriginal flag was lowered to half-mast outside Kingborough Council chambers on January 26, as representatives of weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation (wAC) and South East Tasmania Corporation (SETAC) joined with the Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter and Cr Gideon Cordover, to acknowledge the date as a Day of Mourning for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Pictured (left to right) Laura Butler, Tracey Dillon, Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, Cr Gideon Cordover, wAC Secretary Sarah Wilcox, Uncle Rodney Dillon and Jaime Currie. (PS)