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On Invasion Day, Children’s Ground recognises the enduring pain, loss, suffering and resilience of First Nations people.

Since 26 January 1788, we have been pushed to the brink of annihilation through genocide, assimilation and removal. We continue to suffer land theft, stolen children, loss of language and widespread oppression.

This is not a day to celebrate.

This is a day to act.

“Invasion Day was an event that traumatised our people. I find today there’s a whole lot of people that want to do something, be constructive and create change. There is too much anger in the world. We need to work together and show respect to one another” said William Tilmouth, 2023 NAIDOC Elder of the Year and Chair of Children’s Ground.

“No matter how you feel about this date, we’ve got to get on and do the job,” said Mr Tilmouth.

In the wake of the referendum, it is critical that Australia continues to engage in a discussion of its history, the importance of truth telling, and to provide space for the self-determination of First Nations people.

“Last year we missed a big opportunity with the referendum, but opportunities can come around again in a different way,” said Mr Tilmouth.

Big acts or small acts, it’s how people act towards each other. We all have the ability to support each other and work together for the betterment of all of us, white fellas and black fellas. William Tilmouth

“Recognise us, respect us and listen to us. It’s as simple as that,” said Mr Tilmouth.

To continue the narrative of who we are and where we come from, we need to have agency over our communities, land, language and culture.

On the 26 January we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to understand the truth of our history as a Nation. To learn and grow together so that we can achieve justice, dignity and human rights for all Australians, especially the most disadvantaged and marginalised.

When this is achieved we can acknowledge a national day of celebration.