Sipping on a can of Coca-Cola in Buzz Feed's Sydney office, the teenager scans the room.He's polite and intelligent, and looks much younger than his age."Slaughtered" and "invaded" are incredibly jarring words when delivered in a soft tone.This is what Mirrabee Al-Abr, a 13-year-old Aboriginal boy from New South Wales, is feeling and thinking while the rest of the nation is celebrating the creation of the first British colony on the Australian continent."By these presents do constitute and appoint you the said Phillip to be our Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over our territory called New South Wales." At the time, the New South Wales colony encompassed what are now known as the four Australian states of Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, plus large swathes of South Australia.
Those interviewed were from different tribes and nations and ranged in age from 13 to 50.Instead, January 26 causes anxiety and tension for the majority of Aboriginal people, forced each year to run a gauntlet of over-the-top jingoism as smoke from countless barbecues mask the bloody history of atrocities that followed 1788."It's like somebody that comes into your house, does horrible things to your family," Kuku Yalanji and Wemba Wemba man Bjorn Stuart, 28, tells Buzz Feed News, "and they're like, 'Dude, we're going to have a party and have a BBQ and listen to Triple J and we're going to put it on the date we turned up.' That's kinda sadistic, man, why would you do that?"Murruunyandahl Leha, 16, says, "The fact that they celebrate that day that we lost all that we had, it pisses me off."For Bidjara elder Ken Canning, "It's the day that marks the beginning of the massacres."Gomeri man Colin Kinchela advocates for a different date: "If it's truly a celebration of what we are as a nation than we need to include the first nations of this country." During the spring of 1787, British King George III, infamous for his mental illness and the loss of British control of the American colonies, pressed the nib of a quill on to a piece of paper.In the years that followed, the colony's relationship with the local Gadigal people shifted from tension to outright conflict as Indigenous people fought for control of their homelands.Conflicts now known as the "frontier wars" played out across the colony.