Commemorating January 26

The date of January 26 is not a day of celebration for Aboriginal people, New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council Chairman, Roy Ah-See said today.

"For many of us, January 26 is Survival Day. For others it's Invasion Day or the Day of Mourning," Cr Ah-See said.

"Aboriginal people like myself are proud Australians, but we don't wish to celebrate Australia Day while it is held on January 26."

Cr Ah-See said many Aboriginal people wanted to change the date of Australia Day, but others felt this would be tokenistic until we first changed the country.

"It's impossible to ignore the historical fact that the invasion of our country and violent dispossession of our lands commenced on January 26, 1788.  For me, celebrating January 26 would be like dancing on the graves of my ancestors," Cr Ah-See said.

"We hope that our Australian brothers and sisters will reflect on why Aboriginal people choose not to celebrate the current date of Australia Day.  Please respect our wishes to peacefully commemorate that day as we see fit," Cr Ah-See said.