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‘Honouring mourning and celebrating resilience’: Yarra City Council reaffirms January 26 commitment

Callan Morse -

Melbourne's Yarra City Council has reaffirmed its acknowledgement of January 26 as a day of mourning and resilience for First Nations people ahead of the annual public holiday.

The Council says it will honour mourning and celebrate resistance "for the pain and suffering endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a direct consequence of British invasion".

Yarra City Council Mayor, Cr Edward Crossland said January 26 will always be associated with the British invasion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands.

"That is what is being commemorated," Cr Crossland said.

"This date represents a profound moment in our history and it's essential we remember and acknowledge its impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

"Recognising the dispossession and suffering associated with January 26 is crucial."

The council unanimously decided to change the way they marked January 26 on 15 August, 2017.

"Since 2017 we have stood in solidarity, not just in remembrance but also in celebrating the resilience, rich culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Yarra and beyond," Cr Crossland said.

Mayor Crossland affirmed the Council's dedication to reconciliation, highlighting the necessity of trust, mutual respect, and a commitment to fostering understanding and recognition.

"We believe it's vital to engage our broader community positively, to celebrate the rich histories and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples" he said.

In recommitting their attitude towards January 26 as an Indigenous day of mourning, the Council applauded the significant roles Victoria's First People's Assembly and the Yoorrook Justice Commission have made in advocating for Indigenous rights.

"Through the important work of the First Peoples' Assembly, there can be tangible progress in realising treaties between First Nations and the Victorian government," Cr Crossland said.

"We also support the Yoorrook Justice Commission, as the first formal truth-telling process that will shine light on the historical and ongoing injustices faced by Aboriginal peoples in Victoria and further self-determination for the First Peoples of Victoria."

To mark January 26, the Yarra City Council will hold a service in collaboration with the Yana Ngargna Advisory Group, a partnership between Yarra City Council, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The Council said they recognise the strength and resilience of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reaffirming their commitment to work with local Indigenous communities to help advocate for a broader understanding of their experiences and stories of culture, connection to Country and resilience.

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