An insistence to keep Australia Day celebrations on January 26 against the wishes of Aboriginal people was symptomatic of white supremacy, an Invasion Day gathering in Hobart was told on Tuesday.
The lawns outside Parliament House were packed with people from midday, waving signs that urged reminders of the attempted genocide of Indigenous Australians and pleas to change the date of Australia Day.
Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Nala Mansell said the Australia Day date for Indigenous people represented the first death of an Aboriginal man, the first rape of an Aboriginal woman, and the first theft of an Aboriginal child from their family.
AUSTRALIA DAY 2021 IN NORTHERN TASMANIA:
She said Aboriginal people each year were forced to watch the country celebrate the invasion of the British and the destruction of their society. "It's wrong, it's hurtful and it's downright racist," Ms Mansell said.
She said the argument that the atrocities committed against Aboriginal people was a thing of the past was a poor excuse to keep the date on January 26.
"Can you imagine the reaction if we said the same thing every Anzac or Remembrance Day?" Ms Mansell said.
Tasmanian Aboriginal community member Sinsa Mansell said each year she had seen more racist comments made against the proposal to change the Australia Day date and encouraged those gathered to continue to educate others against the change.
It's not just racism, it's white supremacy.Cassy O'Connor
"Those against our reasons for calling for the change do not lose," she said.
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said the history of Tasmania and the wider country was one of brutal slaughter and dispossession.
She said this was a truth that each Australian should heed and motivate them to seek justice for Aboriginal people.
Ms O'Connor said an insistence not to change the date exemplified racism.
"It's not just racism, it's white supremacy," she said.
"We should name it. We should acknowledge it for what it is."
Labor leader Rebecca White said Aboriginal culture and identity had been denied upon the arrival of the British.
"Aboriginal Australians continue to live with the impact of this," she said.
"The trauma of the violence and the actions of white people towards black people are shameful.
"Without treaty, without justice, without reparation, we as a nation will continue to deny equality to Aboriginal Australians."
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