While the UK battles the post Christmas gloom of dark nights, horizontal rain and empty wallets, in Australia they celebrated Australia day this weekend. Not without its controversies, it is a day which marks the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Philip landed in Port Jackson along with 736 convicts. While some people call it the celebration of the birth of a modern nation, others such as this year’s Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, describe it as a “very sad day for a lot of our mob“.
Indeed, Australia’s history, brought to the forefront of everyone’s mind on the 26th January, at best sits uncomfortably with those who call themselves Australian and at worst causes a great deal of sorrow to those aboriginal communities who were the original Australians and yet remain victims of racism and inequality. This nation’s delicate task of ‘remembering’ her history, therefore, is not to be underestimated.
The act of ‘remembering’ and ‘celebrating’ a nation’s history is often a complex one, especially when the dominant narrative is disputed and the overarching focus forgets one sector in society. Bringing people together to remember, therefore, is no easy task. However, as we all know ‘nothing worth doing is easy’.
For people like Goodes, Australia day provides Australians with an opportunity to come together “as a nation to break down the silos between races, break down those stererotypes of minority populations… to be proud of our heritage regardless of the colour of our skin and be proud to be Australian.”
At Mision México we are extremely proud of our Australian heritage. Indeed we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for two very important Australians Pam and Alan Skuse who left their home on the Sunshine Coast to run a refuge in Tapachula, Mexico. Our history is made up of their story and the story of every child that comes to live with them. Our family history, therefore, isn’t one single narrative, but a complex network of stories which are often difficult to relive.
Therefore, on Australia Day we celebrated our history on the beach! Thank you all those Aussies out there who support us. We are extremely proud of our heritage – no matter how complicated it may be!