To me growing up it was Invasion day. That's what my family taught me growing up, and it was always a sad day for Indigenous people.
It reminded them of the slaughter, rape and enslavement of our people, it reminds us of how white man had no regard or recognition that there was a whole race living in this country before they came over here on their boats and tried to wipe us out and breed us out.
It also is a day that we get reminded that we aren't recognised even in the constitution and every Australia Day is one day that you see racism more clearly. Now that we have social media it gets even worse because you don't even see this person or know them and they can start a whole new war on Facebook or Twitter and have thousands of people commenting and putting in their two cents worth.
In recent years it really showed me how racist Australia can be and how much we are hated and looked down on as a race, I was devastated to see comments like:
"Let's kill them all 5cents a head."
"I wish we would have wiped them out"
"They are the worst race on earth"
"'Dirty Abos' they should be extinct"
"Send them all back to NT then lets blow them up"
I have to admit that last comment which I saw three weeks ago was so annoying because it just shows such ignorance that people think ALL indigenous people come from the Northern Territory!
There were hundreds of tribes ALL over Australia not all of us come from the desert, my tribe is from the Sunshine Coast and we have always been there for thousands of years but no one wants to picture what was before all these big buildings and hot tourist places they don't want to picture that there were tribes of people living there, they just think we were all out in the desert which is so untrue.
We seriously need the truth of the history of this country taught properly in schools because hate and racism is not born it is taught! And while there are still many ignorant people out there then it's never going to change.
If people knew the stories of my people and what happened to them then maybe they might understand why there is so much hate and hurt when we are told these horrible stories as children we are told of these inhuman acts and of course it hurts and I think indigenous people have the right to be hurt we have an actual reason to be sad on this day, whereas racist people who teach their kids racism their only reason is because they don't like the colour of our skin.
I know there was a national apology and that really meant a lot to Indigenous people but there was so much damage done it's going to take a long time for it to get better. I have said previously our people are lost, and our language and identity were stolen and replaced with alcohol and drugs, and Australia Day just reminds them of this.
We do have to move forward yet not forget the past but acknowledge it and look to the future. I believe Indigenous people are a strong people and we have survived a lot we are still here - that speaks to our strength also.
But if indigenous people want to keep our culture alive then the tough issues have to be addressed by all of us Australians white and black, the alcohol abuse, drug abuse, child abuse and not neglect the domestic violence. Money won't fix it.
I've said that previously, change has to come from both sides, white Australians need to be educated properly and the ignorance needs to stop. The Indigenous people need to find the will to change within themselves and stand up and say come on let's stop all this drinking and fighting and drugs this was not a part of our culture before so why is it now?!
Anyway to me, now as an adult, Australia Day is different than it was to me growing up. The me growing up I would never have been caught dead saying, "Happy Australia Day" to anyone and now it doesn't faze me so much because I am happy to live in a beautiful Country where there is no wars.
I'm not punished for following Jesus, I love that there are so many nice people who look at you as the human being, not the black this or black that, so I love Australia for that and we really do have the most beautiful country. Our beaches and landscapes are second to none.
The next generation
So I want to teach my kids 'different' to what I grew up with. I want to teach them to love and not hate. And I want them to show the Indigenous people that there is another way to live and we also don't have to be full of hate just because some people hate us.
I feel like the Lord helps me to deal with these things better and of course I get angry at first when I see racist comments, but after praying and talking to God I realise I just have to be better than that and not to lower myself to the hate.
Today this country is such a melting pot of all different cultures I don't think we can afford to have racism here. I was so proud to see Adam Goodes awarded Australian of the year and his speech was really touching. I pray we can get rid of racism in our beautiful country.
Tisha Williams is an indigenous home maker and mother on the Gold Coast / Tweed. He husband Edward is an indigenous painter, training to be a carpenter and teaches their children his language and dream time stories which have parallels in the Bible.
Tisha Williams' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tisha-williams.html