What you should NEVER do on Australia Day according to Indigenous influencers

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Social media influencers are using their platforms to share tips on how young people can show their opposition to Australia Day celebrations – and the activities revelers should avoid.

January 26 – the day the British flag was raised on Australian soil in 1788 after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbor – is regarded by most First Nations people as ‘Invasion Day’.

Popular social media creators have created “tutorials” that give their followers advice on how to tackle the day and show their support for the indigenous people.

Their suggestions include turning down invitations to Australia Day parties and donating wages to charity if they have to work on that day.

Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal user Meissa Mason (pictured) has suggested that people who work on ‘Invasion Day’ and want to support Indigenous people donate their holiday bonuses

Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal user Meissa Mason, who has more than 110,000 followers, was among those who encouraged such actions.

“I’ve had a few people DM me saying they don’t celebrate Invasion Day, and would rather work, but they also feel uncomfortable taking advantage of Invasion Day by getting an hour and a half or double rates,” she said.

“Something you can do is work out your paychecks to see what you got on your regular rates, and then take that percentage that you got for double pay or pay and a half and donate it to an Indigenous organization, movement or group.

“That way you don’t take advantage of Invasion Day and you directly support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Barkindji, Wakawaka and Birrigubba Tiktok influencer Emily Johnson shared a “tutorial” titled “no pride in genocide,” in which she showed her 78,000 followers how to decline invitations to events on the holiday.

“For me personally, it’s okay if you want to enjoy the holiday, but calling your event “Invasion Day” is just yuck,” she wrote in a caption.

Non-Indigenous activist Ella Jae offered her 60,200 followers a “reminder” that we shouldn’t “celebrate genocide” and called for the date to be changed from January 26 to May 8.

Barkindji, Wakawaka and Birrigubba Tiktok influencer Emily Johnson (pictured) shared a tutorial on how to decline Australia Day party invites

She said,

Barkindji, Wakawaka and Birrigubba Tiktok influencer Emily Johnson (pictured) shared a tutorial on how to decline Australia Day party invites

“If we want to celebrate Australia it has to be on a day that is inclusive for everyone so everyone can have fun,” she said in the video that has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

She likened having a party on Australia Day to skipping a loved one’s funeral and going straight to ‘kick-ons’, refuting the common argument that 1788 ‘happened so long ago’.

“Trauma traces across generations that the pain continues to be felt by the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of First Nation people,” she said.

“And second, you can’t decide what’s offensive or hurtful to a community you’re not a part of.

“If you choose to be ignorant and uneducated, you are part of the problem.”

Jaz Karati, an advocate for changing the date, described how she and her Maori family celebrated the holiday until they learned of its cultural significance.

“When we first moved here 10 years ago, we didn’t know the history of that date, so we celebrated with a lot of our Australian friends,” she said.

Ella Jae (pictured) explained that trauma can be passed down through generations - and celebrating January 26 is not ethical

Ella Jae (pictured) explained that trauma can be passed down through generations – and celebrating January 26 is not ethical

Jaz Karati, a self-proclaimed Aboriginal ally, admitted that she used to celebrate Australia Day until she realized the date's historical and cultural significance

Jaz Karati, a self-proclaimed Aboriginal ally, admitted that she used to celebrate Australia Day until she realized the date’s historical and cultural significance

“Once we learned the real history and why that date is important to Aboriginal people, it became a good idea to stop celebrating.”

Ms Karati said white Australian friends have justified celebrating the holiday because they were ‘not racist’ because they don’t ‘hate Aborigines’.

“I said ‘you’re wrong. You think racism is rooted in hatred, but it’s not. It’s rooted in ignorance – willful ignorance – because you know history and you keep celebrating”.

“If you care about Aboriginal people, you don’t celebrate invasion, genocide, rape, murder and colonisation.

Comedian Tilly Langford, a Gumbaynggir woman, regularly shares content with her more than 38,600 TikTok followers, advocating for a number of social justice causes, including class inequality, sexism, and racial injustice.

The political commentator said that for her the national holiday represents the ongoing disparity between Indigenous Australians and other members of the community.

“Invasion Day for me symbolizes a lot of my personal conflicts with ‘Australia,'” she told News.com.au.

‘I want to love this country. I want to take care of it and cherish it, just like my ancestors did. But I can’t, because of the way it is now, the blood, the carnage and the sheer indifference.’

Comedian and Gumbaynggir wife Tilly Langford (pictured) says she 'can't love Australia' because of persistent racial injustice and brutal history of colonization

Comedian and Gumbaynggir wife Tilly Langford (pictured) says she ‘can’t love Australia’ because of persistent racial injustice and brutal history of colonization

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, she sent strength to her fellow Indigenous Australians

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, she sent strength to her fellow Indigenous Australians

Australia Day, held on the date British Royal Navy ships retrieved a Union Jack from Sydney Cove, called Warrane by the Aboriginal people who fished and lived there, remains divided between young and older generations.

In recent years, the day has been marked by widespread protests in cities across the country, as thousands of indigenous supporters mourn the painful history and call for the date of the holiday to be changed.

A recent study by Core Data found ‘a generational and gender gap among Australians about the meaning of the day and its position in the calendar’.

The research firm asked whether people were planning to celebrate, whether they were in favor of moving the holiday to a different date and how their opinion had changed in recent years.

Overall, 54 per cent of respondents said they planned to celebrate the occasion, 30 per cent said they would celebrate Australia’s history and achievements and 15 per cent “just because it was a holiday”.

More than two-thirds of respondents 26 and under say they won’t be celebrating on January 26, and just over 30 percent say they will.

But more than 80 percent of them support moving the date to improve relations with indigenous people, as do more than 70 percent of those aged 27 to 41.

Support for change declined among older respondents, with just over 30 percent of those 56 to 75 and 25 percent of older people supporting a change in date.

However, there is no consensus on what an alternative date should be, increasing the likelihood that Australia Day will simply be dropped from the calendar.

People carry placards as thousands of people attend an Australia Day protest in Melbourne on January 26, 2021

People carry placards as thousands of people attend an Australia Day protest in Melbourne on January 26, 2021

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