Indigenous women protest against Australia Day

As Australia prepares to celebrate its national day on Tuesday (January 26) indigenous woman Rita Wright will be marching with others in Sydney, at a protest to change the date.

Australia Day on January 26 marks when the British fleet first arrived in Australia in 1788, led by Captain Cook, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encounters with settlements.

For Wright, the day reinforces a legacy of mistreatment toward Indigenous people.

"I always thought Captain Cook owned this land and not the Aboriginal people."

Wright, a Muruwari woman, was snatched off the street at age two and taken to a church mission, a dark era in Australia's history known as the 'Stolen Generation'.

There - she was forced to sleep in a chicken coop.

She's now no longer silent about what she's been through.

"As I got older and stronger I was so proud that I'm Aboriginal. And being a full blood Aboriginal woman, and I was allowed to speak, allowed to speak my mind."

Every year voices grow louder calling for Australia Day to change.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn't bowed to that pressure.

He told journalists last week that the day represents how far the country has come since colonization:

Morrison also criticized the decision by sport authorities to no longer refer to January 26 as "Australia Day" when promoting cricket games played on the national holiday.

Jasmine Seymour, an award-winning author who belongs to the Burubiranggal clan, believes the matter should go to a vote.

"We are a country that is multilingual now, multinational. We have many people from all over the world who live here now. And it is the great generosity of Aboriginal people when we do welcome to countries and we say 'care for our country, you belong here, we all belong here'. So I do think there is room for a day for us all but it has to not be that day."

Morrison last month did change Australia's national anthem, taking out a reference to the country being "young and free."

That's after calls to recognise that Australia's Indigenous people are the oldest continued civilization in the world.

Video Transcript

[CHANTING]

- As Australia prepares to celebrate its national day on Tuesday, indigenous woman Rita Wright will be marching with others in Sydney at a protest to change the date. Australia Day on January 26 marks when the British fleet first arrived in Australia in 1788, led by Captain Cook, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encounters with settlements.

For Wright, the day reinforces a legacy of mistreatment toward indigenous people.

RITA WRIGHT: I always thought Captain Cook owned this land and not the Aboriginal people.

- Wright, a Muruwari woman, was snatched off the street at age two and taken to a church mission, a dark era in Australia's history known as the "Stolen Generation." There she was forced to sleep in a chicken coupe. As she's grown older, she's no longer silent about what she's been through.

RITA WRIGHT: As I got older and stronger, I was so proud that I'm Aboriginal. And being a full-blood Aboriginal woman, and I was allowed to speak, allowed to speak my mind what I thought about it.

- Every year voices grow louder, calling for the date to change for Australia Day. Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn't bowed to that pressure. He told journalists last week that the day represents how far the country has come since colonization. Morrison also criticized the decision by sport authorities to no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day when promoting cricket games played on the national holiday.

Jasmine Seymour, an award-winning author who belongs to the Burubiranggal clan believes the matter should go to a vote.

JASMINE SEYMOUR: I definitely think that we need to have a day for Australians, because we are a country that is multilingual now, multinational. We have many people from all over the world who live here now. And it is the great generosity of Aboriginal people when we do welcome to countries and we say, you know, care for our country, you belong here. We all belong here. So I do think there is room for a day for us all, but it has to not be that day.

- Morrison last month did change Australia's national anthem, taking out a reference to the country being, quote, "young and free." That's after calls to recognize that Australia's indigenous people are the oldest continued civilization in the world.