Australia Indigenous youth in remote Australia share their ideas on #changethedate
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As rallies encouraging Australians to #changethedate and #paytherent attract crowds across major cities, the situation in Western Australia's far north will be markedly different.
While January 26 continues to maintain government and some community support as our national holiday, the debate around a potential shift in the date continues to gain momentum.
But in the Kimberley, where the Indigenous population sits at close to 42 per cent and residents are at the front line of social issues confronting First Nations communities, the campaign is virtually absent from public debate.
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Traditional owners will feature heavily in today's community events and citizenship ceremonies, but there are no rallies, marches, or concerts planned for the region's major towns.
Locals said it came down to people being focused on more immediate issues.
'It hasn't really been one of my priorities'
Bart Pigram, a Yawuru man born and raised in Broome, has a long line of family history in the area.
He believes changing the date will be good for everybody, but said people in the Kimberley were more inclined to worry about more pressing issues.
"Changing the date for the Kimberley people won't change the suicide rates, it won't affect our drug and alcohol problem up here, we have other priorities at hand," he said.
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"We won't even be able to change the date if our living rates keep going the way they are.
"These other life and death issues in our community are more important to me."
The Kimberley region has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, withover the last decade.
In 2017 an, five of those children between 10 and 13 years of age.
In coroner Ros Fogliani's opening address, she said they had all been exposed to alcohol abuse and domestic violence in their homes, had poor school attendance, and most had not received any sort of mental health assessment or support.
While he was supportive of the rallies, Mr Pigram believes more effective ways of generating discussion around Australia's past are needed.
"It's great that protesters do it [but] there are also other strategic ways to do this — one of those is through the education system," he said.
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"This is the whole problem: we're an uneducated nation, we are because our schools aren't teaching the true history of Australia.
"I learnt about pyramids when I was at school. What do I have to do with ancient Egypt? I should've been learning about ancient Australia."
'We are still oppressed'
Alicia Mclean is a Miriuwung and Gajerrong woman who goes by her traditional name of Lulkbudia.
Living in Perth but raised in Kununurra, 3,200km to the north, Ms Lulkbudia is able to see both worlds.
"I would say that we are still oppressed in our country," she said.
"The incarceration rates, mental illness and how that affects our community, especially in the Kimberley region ... There are a lot of problems and they're very complex."
Ms Lulkbudia would prefer to abolish Australia Day altogether.
"It's just about acknowledging the history of Australia, and that this day is causing a lot of pain," she said.
"No day is appropriate to celebrate genocide, stolen generations, and all the horrific things that happened to Aboriginal people."
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Celebrating 'in a different way'
Warumungu man Ethan Taylor believes the same values celebrated on Australia Day could be celebrated on another day.
"I wish I could celebrate with these people the beauty of this country, the magic that lies on this land, not just on a different day, but in a different way," Mr Taylor said.
"For me no matter what day you celebrate, it won't do justice for as long as it's celebrated the way it is."
Originally from Geraldton in WA's mid-west, Mr Taylor said the things that make Australia great could easily be celebrated on a different date.
'The values that I see celebrated on Australia Day are not bad values — mateship, coming together, sharing a drink — that's not what's bad,' Mr Taylor said.
"When it's done under [the guise of] celebrating a nation that has committed atrocious acts to certain people, that's when it becomes bad."
With many people voicing different Australia Day suggestions, or a new day to celebrate entirely, Mr Pigram said the past could not be ignored.
"The date that Australia became Australia and [was] federated as one whole country was the first of January 1901; that is the true Australia Day," he said.
"We can't deny the past; that happened, that's history."
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Australia Day celebrations should remain on January 26 as it marks a significant day for many across the nation, an exclusive reader survey has found.The survey, of 1114 participants*, revealed 49 per cent felt strongly about the date, claiming it is very important to them.
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