1: 25th Birthday Celebration

2: Yamma   Festival   2005

3: Sovereignty  Day in  2007

Sovereignty Day 2007  by Lara Bennett

It’s around this time of year many of us start thinking about Australia Day & pondering what it really means besides a public holiday & gigantic piss up. I often feel uncomfortable on this day – with all the celebrating & flag waving amid celebrity performances. Something inside screams – “no!” this is not right – there is another side to the story here that is not being acknowledged!

By celebrating on “ Australia” day we are not fully remembering the meaning of the date itself – for many it symbolizes the landing of Cook – for many it symbolizes the beginning of 200 years of disease, massacres & loss of culture – hardly something to be waving a flag about.

Has everyone conveniently forgotten this rather large truth? I often wonder how we can do better. I feel it is important to have a national day of celebration & pride – that is applicable to all people that call Australia home. Not all Australians have links with Cook, with colonization, with Brittan & the union jack. Many are migrants, many are Indigenous Australians & I feel Australia Day assumes Invasion was a happy event for all involved. Of course we cannot change the past – but we do need to stop & remember mistakes, to honor those whose blood was shed, or died in the course of the nation being forged as a colony. Otherwise we are wiping out history. Those Australians who are serious about moving forward, serious about reconciliation I urge you to think about this next Australia Day. There was never any agreement, no sale of land no treaty. What are we really celebrating by acknowledging this date – the forcible removal of people from land?, attempted genocide?

Yes, let’s celebrate all we have to be grateful for in this beautiful country, but let’s pay respect to the many nations of Aboriginal families that lived here for thousands and thousands of years before Cooks’ foot ever touched this soil.

The truth is ugly sometimes, but it must be acknowledged in order to accept our history & move on.
Taking a step in that direction is Northern Rivers Icon, The Rainbow Chai Tent . For the last three years, this family business has traveled from the Northern Rivers to Canberra to offer their services to The Tent embassy in support of Aboriginal Sovereignty.

The Chai tent offers a comfortable space for elders, discussions, and concerts and brings with it many musicians and great food and Chai tea. Each year Indigenous elders invite all Aboriginal people, supporters and other members of the general public, to come together at the 'Aboriginal Tent Embassy' site, on Fri 26th January , to celebrate "SOVEREIGNTY DAY" and be part of the Sacred Fire Ceremonial Gathering.
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy believes that the issue Aboriginal Sovereignty has been unresolved since 1770 when Aboriginal people opposed Captain James Cook's reconnaissance of the Great Southern Land `Terra Australis', followed by Captain Arthur Philips incursion establishing the platform for invasion. Out-posts were initially set-up on the East Coast of `Terra Australis' and methodically spread across Aboriginal people's `terra firma'. Indigenous and non Indigenous people are encouraged to attend & support the Embassy, learn more about Sovereinty and take part in active discussions and workshops on where to go from here.

This year the Rainbow Chai Tent set up on the lawns of parliament house in support of Sovereignty Issues and to protest against uranium mining. Benny Zable, long time anti-uranium activist will be waving his famous flags.

A concert will also be held on Saturday 3rd January at the Embassy to encourage supporters to come down, sit by the fire, show support & join in discussions about sovereignty. Line up includes Johnny Huckle, Luke Webb, Black Elvis, & international guest OTS. Chai & food will be available.

 www.rainbowchaitent.com for more information about the Embassy, please go to: