SURVEY FINDINGS:

WHAT DOES JAN 26 MEAN TO YOU?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this page contains content which may be uncomfortable, distressing and/or emotionally draining.

 

Introduction:

In December 2020, Blak Business created and released a survey to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a culturally safe space to share their opinions, experiences and insights about January 26. Further, this survey sought to gather knowledge to create more meaningfully informed content for Blak Business (see appendix 2 and 3). 

Method:

The survey was comprised of nine questions (see appendix 1) and was hosted on Google Forms. The survey was exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To deter non-Indigenous voices, an introduction was included stating that only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were invited to complete the survey, and respondents were asked to name their mob or identity terminology. 

Participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous. Participants could withdraw their participation at any time by exiting the survey. Participants had the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of five prizes from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses. To enter, participants needed to include their email address or Instagram handle; this information was collected exclusively for the purpose of the giveaway. Winners of the giveaway were contacted privately.

The survey was advertised on Blak Business' Instagram story several times between December 2020 and January 26 2021. 

Limitations:

Due to a number of limitations, the findings of this survey cannot be reliably generalised to reflect the opinion of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, nor should they be used to support research.

Sample selection: The survey was distributed via Blak Business' Instagram platform and therefore only those who engage with the space had access to the survey. Not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are on Instagram or engage with Blak Business, therefore all members of the community did not have the opportunity to share their perspectives. 

Sample size: The larger the sample, the more precise results are. Given that the sample size was small (104 respondents), the results cannot be reliably generalised to reflect the opinion of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

 

Question structure: As some questions were open-ended, it was difficult (or impossible) to meaningfully translate the responses into quantitative results such as graphs and charts. 

Findings:

The survey had 111 respondents, 96 Aboriginal, 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 3 Torres Strait Islander, and 7 non-Indigenous. 

The survey was explicitly labelled as being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; non-Indigenous people were asked to respect this space. To restore cultural safety, the 7 non-Indigenous responses have been omitted and therefore the following findings are from a sample of 104 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Respondents were asked to include their mob (language group/nation) or a term which they identify with for the purpose of understanding where respondents come from.
85 language groups, nations, Islands, and/or terms were named.

Note: Duplicates have been omitted from this list. Where an individual identified with two or more language groups these have been separated to protect the anonymity of individuals. Likewise, where an individual named a specific tribe or clan of a language group, only the language group has been included to protect the anonymity of individuals.

Aboriginal

Anaiwan

Arrernte

Awabakal

Badimia

Balladong Noongar

Bangerang

Bardi

Barkindji

Barranbinya

Barunggam

Bidjara

Bigambul

Biripi

Boigu Island

Boonwurrung

Bundjalung

Bunuba

Butchulla

Around Cunamulla

Dja Dja Warrung

Djugun

Dunghutti

Eora

Erub Island

Gamilaraay

Gamileroi

Girudala

Gooreng Gooreng

Gubbi Gubbi

Gugu Yimithirr

Gumbaynggirr

Gunditjmara

Gundungurra

Guringai-Kuringgai

Gymmeah

Jaadwa

Jarowair

Kalkadoon

Kamilaroi

Kanolu

Kaurna

Around the Kimberley

Koori

Kulilili

Kungarakan

Larrakia

Luritja

Mabiuag Island

Marranuggu

Martu

Meriam Mir

Murri

Muruwari

Narrunga

Ngarrindjeri

Ngiyampaa

Ngunawal

Nhunggabarra

Noongar

Nurrungga

Paredarerme

Tasmanian Aboriginal

Taungurung

Torres Strait Islander

Trawlwoolway

Unberkere Bina

Wakka Wakka

Walbunja

Wandiwandian

Warramunga

Watjarri

Weilwan

Wemba Wemba

Wilyakali

Wiradjuri

Wongi

Wonnarua

Worimi

Wulgurukaba

Yamatji Badimaya

Yawuru

Yorta Yorta

Yuggera

Yuin

When asked what they refer to January 26 as, respondents had the opportunity to select more than one answer and/or enter their own response. The chart below represents which responses were most commonly selected. 

39% of respondents selected only "Invasion Day".

16% of respondents selected both "Invasion Day" and "Survival Day".

12% selected only "January 26".

When asked what they do on January 26, respondents were free to enter their own response.
Responses were divided into five main areas:

  1. Attend an Invasion Day/ Survival Day event

  2. Share social media content advocating January 26 as Invasion Day/ Survival Day

  3. Spend time with family/ mourn

  4. Nothing

  5. Other

The chart below represents which of the above responses were most commonly stated. 

When asked if their perspectives or involvement on January 26 had changed since they were younger, respondents were free to enter their own response.

The responses from this question are too complex to divide in to a chart. 

Nonetheless, the majority of responses indicate a change in perspective or involvement. 
Many respondents shared that they previously celebrated the date as 'Australia Day' including celebrating with friends, drinking, wearing 'Australia' paraphernalia etc.

31.2% of responses include "education" or "learning" as leading to a change in perspective or involvement. 

Others who responded 'yes' shared that their perspective changed from "Change The Date" to "Abolish The Date" or vice versa, or their involvement changed because of broader and more personal factors such as changes in family dynamic or health.


The majority of those who responded 'no' shared that they have always been made aware of the truth of the date. 

When asked what their friends do on January 26, respondents were free to enter their own response.
Responses were divided into five main areas:

  1. Celebrate 'Australia Day'

  2. Attend an Invasion Day/ Survival Day event

  3. Share social media content advocating January 26 as Invasion Day/ Survival Day

  4. Nothing

  5. Other

The chart below represents which of the above responses were most commonly stated. 

Notably, many respondents differentiated their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends, and their non-Indigenous friends. For example:

  • Black friends attend rallies. White ones usually get dragged to holiday trips. - this kinda hurts and makes me feel really unsafe around their families

  • Most celebrate with drinking and swimming. They’re all mostly white Australians

  • Mob friends rally. Non mob friends go celebrate Australia, I'm trying to educate and inform them.

  • ​It’s about half half

  • party - majority are not aboriginal

  • Most friends I have now, they celebrate it by going out and partying. Both my aboriginal and non aboriginal friends.

  • BBQ and drink (non First Nations). Allys and First Nations go to rallies or just head bush for the day

  • My friends are mostly mob and don’t celebrate. My few white friends have had serious debates with my about Australia Day, some even chose not to speak to me because they thought I was living in the past. She did her own education in the time she didn’t speak with me and came back with an apology. I don’t know if she still celebrates Australia Day.

  • My settler friends largely celebrate; my sibs do not.

  • white friends- go out with their family, to a beach or lunch

  • POC friends- invasion day rallies/social media activism

Note: quotes are verbatim.​

68% of respondents strongly agree with "Change The Date".

12.5% of respondents are neutral about "Change The Date".

Note: the Y axis represents number of respondents, not percentages.

Whereas the previous graph is more clearly skewed toward "strongly agree", perspectives on "Abolish The Date" are more spread. 

37.5% of respondents strongly agree with "Abolish The Date".

29.8% of respondents are neutral on "Abolish The Date".

18.3% of respondents somewhat disagree with "Abolish The Date".

Note: the Y axis represents number of respondents, not percentages.

Finally, respondents were given space to add additional thoughts. 36 responses were given. 

These have been broken into common themes below.

Change The Date and Abolish The Date

  • The way January 26 is celebrated. Changing the date won't change white Australia's ideals. There needs to be MASSIVE CHANGES made. Our history is still warped and mistold by white Australia

  • I would love to come together with everyone and celebrate this beautiful country. I just wish it could be done in a way that includes everyone. They should change January 26th and make it a day where people mourn and recognise the racist history of Australia. Then make another date to come together celebrate the way we live now (balance out a negative with a positive)

  • I agree with both movements but it has to be done hand in hand

  • I think Australia should be celebrated as a whole, not particularly the day we were invaded and taken over. We have an amazing country and we should celebrate it but celebrate Australia as the country who welcomes all, and the land of the free and all people are equal.

  • I sit with change the date rather than abolish the date because it's a step, its not everything and it's not a treaty but it's a step and I'm a strong advocate for taking every single step we can rather than waiting for it all to come at once.

  • ​Heard of abolish the date but never the reasoning behind it. Very interesting, going to look more into it thanks!

  • i agree to both change and abolish because in change there’s still going to be problems changing the date won’t fix the ingrained racism or dispossession and when we acknowledge that it will be said - oh nothings ever good enough for yous blah blah

  • I think abolishing that day doesn't let any of us move forward as a whole.

  • I am undecided on “Abolish the Date” and although “Change the Date” is largely symbolic, I think it is a necessary step to acknowledge the feelings, experiences and opinions of so many mob. Changing the Date isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction (albeit on a very long path...)

Personal Insight

  • This day gives me alot of intense anxiety, it usually spans a week or two for me. I hate fighting and cutting people off, and having to justify why the celebration of the genocide of my family hurts my feelings

  • It's going to take persistence to create change and create unity... we can't give up, we must keep fighting... our Ancestors didn't die for us to give up when the going gets hard, we are tough and resilient and when the going gets tough our mob gets tougher

  • We need to come together somehow I don’t believe following the USA type of scenario they are so divided over there it’s awful and so messed up. I believe we will all be stronger together

  • For me it’s important to invite white friends along with me to Aboriginal events, so they become educated

  • I am not for "Australia Day", but I know that it will most likely never be changed due to ignorance. I just feel that if I can educate my son and nephew and their friends that one day a generation of kids will ALL collectively understand WHY Indigenous Australians are uncomfortable with January 26th

  • January is so dividing and brings out the racists or people who just “want us all to be equal” without recognising the terrible history of Australia. Be strong & stay deadly!

  • i hate invasion day, i see parties and posts filled with racism and straight up ignorance, i tend to avoid social media that whole day. invasion day was the beginning of so much trauma for indigenous people, and we still have to fight to say that a day of celebrations for colonialism erases our history, and our existence in a way

  • As a mixed race Aboriginal women, I find Survival Day pretty confronting sometimes. I wouldn’t exist without the colonisation of my people. My ancestor was removed from her family and sent to a mission and she ended up becoming a missionary herself, which lead her to Papua New Guinea and lead to my family line. It’s just confronting to hate a day so much when it is woven into my DNA. It’s almost like hating a part of myself. I think that’s why I prefer to think of Jan 26 as Survival Day, because also in my dna is the fact that my bubu’s blood is running in my veins 4 generations later despite the trauma they put her through, and our Aboriginality survives stronger than ever.

  • Proud to be an indigenous Australian, we have a beautiful country. We can have a day to celebrate this without causing pain to First Nations people.

  • power to the people on this day, soon enough they will listen to our cries

  • The whole concept of Australia is s 200 years ago. Time to incorporate the whole history - Like a NAIDOC + multicultural festival vibe.

  • I believe that it should still be celebrated but tradition should change to be more like Anzac Day as in the mornings there is a time of reflection and acknowledgement for us indigenous peoples and help younger generations understand the the ways that aboriginals have been neglected and mistreated since colonialism and help repair the bond. And then at night we can celebrate the future and a time of inclusiveness and hope for all who are Australians no matter who you are. I believe that the celebration of what makes a nation is still important but a moment of mourning and reflection is also needed. I believe this would be a good way to make all sides happy

  • I think there needs to be a National day of remembrance and commemoration for the devastation that happened towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, where we remember all the lives that were lost, and bring awareness to all the terrible things that are happening, especially in our remote communities. Kinda like a Blak fulla ANZAC day.

  • I believe there should be a nation day of celebration for Australia as we have so much to appreciate and be thankful for, while I understand we have a long way to go for cohesive inclusion I don’t think dismantling a day all together will strengthen our cause, just cause more divide

  • I hate Australia Day because it’s really only NSW’s day, it’s not inclusive of all other states.

  • Jan 26 is that day that mourn that I lost my connection to land to culture to language to songlines to my dreaming. It’s the day I think about what could have been

  • I used to be embarrassed as a kid having to explain to people my identity and it took a really long time to be able to confidently educate people or tell them when they say offensive things. the online community has really helped me a lot become confident in my identity and it warms my heart to see so many non indigenous people opening up to these conversations

  • My mother was stolen from her family and put in a childrens home. My mother 58 this year people need to realise this is fresh

  • I’m still doing my own learning around change vs abolish the date and can see good arguments for both. But I definitely agree that we can’t continue Australia Day celebrations as they are now.

 

Education

  • I think we need more education in school about this stuff because they are not telling us what really happened

  • Schools and things need to educate the younger generation better, it’s a good fight and I’m glad you mob are doing what you are

  • I'd love to see curriculum be modified to teach accurate history of this land.

  • I heavily defended "Australia Day" as I wasn't taught any different. I educated myself and am slowly learning more and decolonising my beliefs. I was for changing the date until I came across information that critically analysed it and looked at how changing the date won't change the racism embedded in all the systems here.

Survey Feedback

  • I don’t think you should make it mandatory to write in your mobs name. Some fullas don’t know what mob they come from due to stolen gens and it can be quite traumatic and identity shaking to have to be faced with a ‘required’ question like that.

  • ❤️💛🖤

  • Thank you for doing this!! This is a great way to make our voices heard, especially as a young Aboriginal person.

  • Lots of love to you guys for all the work you do ❤️💛🖤

Note: quotes are verbatim.

Appendices:

Appendix 1: Survey

Introduction:

This survey is for ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES to share their perspective on January 26. If you are not Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander please respect this space and DO NOT submit a response.

 

This survey is anonymous. The responses collected from this questionnaire will be used to inform a post on @BlakBusiness, a research report published on www.blakbusiness.com.au and discussion on a podcast. 

By completing this survey, you understand where the results will be distributed. 

 

Responses will not be attributed to individuals. 

Participation is voluntarily and you can withdraw your participation by exiting the survey at any time.

 

If you would like to enter the draw to win one of five prizes from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, please include your email address or Instagram handle at the end of this survey. 

This information is collected only for the purpose of the giveaway. 

 

This survey is managed by: Blak Business.

Instagram.com/blakbusiness

www.blakbusiness.com.au

Questions: 

Only questions marked with * required a response before progressing.

 

Are you Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander? *

This survey is for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to share their opinions. If you are not Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, please respect this space and DO NOT submit a response.

Yes, Aboriginal

Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

No, neither Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander


 

Who's your mob? *

The purpose of this question is to get a better understanding of where respondents come from. If you don't know who your mob is, that's OK; I recognise, acknowledge and understand the impacts of settler colonialism. Please fill in this question with what feels comfortable to you.

For example, but not limited to: Noongar, Aboriginal, Blakfella etc.

[short-answer box]

 

What terminology do you use to describe Jan 26?

You may select multiple options from the choices below, or enter another term in the "Other" box.

Survival Day

Invasion Day

January 26

Australia Day

Other: [short-answer box]

 

What do you do on Jan 26?

Consider physical attendance to any events/celebrations/rallies as well as social media activity.

[long-answer box]

Has your perspective and/or involvement in Jan 26 changed since you were younger? How?

If yes, how has your perspective and/or involvement in Jan 26 changed? What did you do or not do which you do or not do now?

[long-answer box]

 

What do your friends do on Jan 26?

Consider physical attendance to any events/celebrations/rallies as well as social media activity.

[long-answer box]

 

Do you agree with the "Change The Date" perspective?

Change The Date advocates for a new national holiday that is inclusive for all people of Australia. This perspective acknowledges that other people have come to Australia - such as refugees - and wish to celebrate. Read more here.

1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) 

 

Do you agree with the "Abolish The Date" perspective?

Abolish The Date advocates for no national holiday with the argument that "changing the date of Australia Day – without the achievement of social justice or legal restitution in the form of Land Rights and Treaty – only moves the celebration of unfinished business to another date". Read more here.

1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) 

 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Enter your response below or leave blank if not applicable.

[long-answer box]

Giveaway Entry (OPTIONAL)

If you would like to enter the draw to win one of five prizes from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, please include your email address or Instagram handle at the end of this survey. This information is collected only for the purpose of the giveaway. 

[short-answer box]

Appendix 2: Instagram Post

 

 

 

 

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this site may contain the names, images, stories and voices of people now passed and resting in the Dreaming.

Blak Business acknowledges and respects the Country, sovereignty, knowledge, Ancestors and Elders of all Aboriginal Countries and Zenadth Kes nations. 

 

The Blak Business team come from various Aboriginal Countries and are all visitors on other Countries. We carry ourselves with great respect for these places. 

 

Aboriginal and Zenadth Kes peoples come from over 250 language groups. Here's how to learn which Country you are on.

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