Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Aboriginal servicemen and women in separate Anzac Day march

Well, Robert Manne, just a few months after your Turkish Tale on Anzac Day lecture there is a wind in the air. Perhaps it is happening - holding together the memory of Gallipoli along with honouring those Aboriginal fighters who died on the frontier protecting their country. There were no marching bands or Australian flags when Indigenous Diggers march set out from the Block in Redfern yesterday. Sydney's first indigenous Anzac Day parade - proudly decked in black, red and gold - set off to the accompaniment of a single didgeridoo. The 500 marchers were led by about 15 veterans. Then a service was held at St Saviour's Church to commemorate the fallen.
In Canberra, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope is being urged to consider a commemorative day for Canberra's Indigenous groups who died at the time of European settlement. ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre spokeswoman Ann Jackson-Nakano says an ANZAC-type day should be established, and a monument erected to recognise Aborigines who died during European settlement and during the settlement of the Canberra region. She says at this stage it is only a suggestion, but she says it is something that Canberrans should consider. "I'm not meaning in any way, shape or form to disrespect the ANZACS," she said. "I'm just saying that, you know, we celebrate this day every year, and I don't see why we couldn't sort of move back a bit." She says there should be a monument recognising the plight of the Indigenous people. "The Australians are a very enlightened people, so I think it's time to demonstrate in real terms the way Australians themselves stand on this issue, and hopefully also the leaders," she said.