Published On: Tue, Jul 18th, 2023

What Is Invasion Day or Australia Day and Why It is Important?

What is Invasion Day Australia

What Is Invasion Day

If there is a day in a history of a country that divides people and makes some angry while others are enjoying their day off and perhaps some BBQs with friends, then for Australia, it’s January 26th.

Known to most people around the world as Australia Day, this national holiday has far more implications, some of which don’t really call for celebration, but for mourning. Every January, this country is forced to revisit its history and confront some painful truths that a lot of individuals would much rather like to leave behind.

Yet, not respecting history and leaving it behind is not an option for Indigenous Australians. For them, it would be like renouncing their whole identities.

That’s why, in those circles, and also among people who support this community, these people who continue to suffer racism and colonization regardless of the fact that we’re living in the modern world, Australia Day is actually known as Invasion Day, and it is definitely not a cause for celebration.

What Is Invasion Day & Why Is It Important?

Whether you’re from a different country and trying to learn about the history of Australia, or you’re an Australian who has never before thought of these issues that the Indigenous people are facing but have started becoming curious right now, getting your facts straight is of crucial importance.

Wondering why the national holiday is so controversial in this country and why people are divided in their opinions about it, you’ll definitely want to do some further learning and finally figure out what it is that’s behind it all.

Therefore, what you’ll have to do is learn precisely what Invasion Day is and why it is so important for a lot of people in Australia.

Australia Day actually commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson on January 26th, 1788. It is meant to honor the establishment of the first permanent European settlement on this continent.

That establishment, however, leads to a brutal colonization of both land and people, which is why this is a sad day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for some non-Indigenous people as well. That’s why it is more commonly known as Invasion Day among those circles.

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First Nations people suffered land theft, massacres, stolen children, and many more brutalities and widespread oppression upon the arrival of the First Fleet. You can see why that wouldn’t be a reason for celebration among them, and you can see why a lot of influential people are trying to change the date for Australia Day.

The way it is right now, it seems that the national holiday sort of excludes the First Nations, forcing them to celebrate a time when they were treated brutally.

Read more about why this is celebrated:

Australia Day 26th Jan

What is a celebration for some people is a painful reminder of maltreatment and brutality for others. It is a painful and traumatic experience for the First Nations people, serving not only as a reminder of what happened in the past but also as a reminder that some of these problems still persist up until today.

They may not be as brutal as they once were, but there’s no denying the fact that colonialism and the effects of colonization are still very much present today as well. The legacy of racism is still strong.

Recognizing Invasion Day is important for Indigenous people because doing so shows them that their history is being respected and that the crimes made against them haven’t been forgotten.

While everyone knows that the non-Indigenous people living on the continent today aren’t directly responsible for the crimes against these people, and while nobody is holding them accountable, this is a part of history that should never be taken lightly and that should never be forgotten.

Do you know what they say? Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. And while we are quite sure that nothing like that will happen again, history can repeat itself in a different form, leading to these people suffering racism all over again, which is definitely not something anyone wants.

Furthermore, while it’s true that the Indigenous people that live today haven’t directly felt the effects of the colonization after the arrival of the First Fleet, it shouldn’t be forgotten that all of them have direct ties to the people who’ve lost their lives and who’ve suffered great brutalities back then.

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This is a transgenerational trauma that leaves an impact on the children, the grandchildren, and many more generations after the event has come to pass. Not respecting their trauma shows the Indigenous people that their sufferings are not that important, while we all know that they are.

Taking the time to learn more about Indigenous history and Invasion Day will definitely lead everyone towards being more empathetic and more compassionate for the sorrows and pains that this day awakens in a large number of people in Australia.

Australian Settlement’s Dark Past

Sir Arthur Philip, who hoisted the British flag at the site that’s now known as Sydney Cove, has contributed greatly to the establishment of the first permanent European settlement in Australia, as we’ve already explained.

Yet, although the date of his doing so is celebrated as a national holiday, that settlement has its own dark past. People have been massacred, children have been taken away, land has been stolen, and the colonizing forces have oppressed the First Nations at every single move. Is that really a past we want to forget?

Or, is it a past that we want to pay respect to, acknowledging January 26th as Invasion Day and letting the Indigenous people know that we feel their pain and that we’re going to make sure it is never forgotten and taken for granted?

This is a history that all Australian people share, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and recognizing that is the first step towards reconciliation. Instead of dividing people, uniting should be our goal, and uniting is impossible without completely disregarding a rather significant part of our history.