Why local custodian won’t be celebrating Australia Day
JANUARY 26 is a day on the Australian calendar that conjures mixed emotions.
Many people believe Australia Day is not a day we should be celebrating.
Local traditional custodian and proud Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Aboriginal woman, Brianna Hanson said it should be a day of mourning.
"From a collective perspective, yes it is disrespectful," she said.
"Our people have had January 26 as a day of mourning from the early 60s.
"We don't celebrate on Anzac Day when we are supposed to be mourning," she said.
"It is the same with Australia Day.
"I think it can appear disrespectful."
Ms Hanson said it wasn't until she was older that she realised the truth about Australia Day.
"When I was younger it just used to be the day to listen to the Hottest 100," she said.
"As I got older I learnt more about the history and culture and the effects on my family since colonisation," she said.
"I am very aware of the historical significance of the date.
"For indigenous Aboriginal people it is a day of mourning."
For a lot of Australians there is a belief that January 26 should be known as 'Invasion Day'.
But Ms Hanson believed this type of language was detrimental.
"For me, language is very influential and when you are using the term 'Invasion Day' it has that negative connotation," she said.
"Because it instantly makes me feel sad and angry."
While horrendous things were done to Aboriginal Australians on the arrival of the First Fleet, Ms Hanson said they weren't the only ones to suffer.
"Some of our ancestors that came on the First Fleet also suffered to be brought here.
"While we have a lot of anger, I feel like a lot of people suffered during that time, not just Aboriginal people."
Along with her mother, Beverley Hand, Ms Hanson is known for her work in education and environment.
"I go into schools and tell dreamtime stories," she said.
"I talk to teachers about our culture."
She believes the only way forward is to lose the negativity and see the future through rose-coloured glasses.
"I am a peacekeeper," she said.
"For myself, it makes me sad but I am not an activist in any way.
"So I generally try to avoid conversations relating to Australia Day."
Rather than get involved in Australia Day events, Ms Hanson and many others will be attending the Bunya Dreaming event at Ewen Maddock Dam on January 26.
"For me and my family, Australia Day is Bunya Dreaming," she said.
"We have been doing it for 13 years.
"It is a positive day and we share our stories."
The Bunya Dreaming event will be held at Ewen Maddock Dam on Steve Irwin Way.
You are invited to bring a plate for the shared feast or a picnic lunch.
To get involved in the Bunya Dreaming event, you can register through the website.