Photo courtesy of Martha Silver Breninger
BY SHAYNE HUNTER
On the 25th of April, ANZAC Day, Aboriginal activists led a procession in Canberra to acknowledge those who died in the Frontier Wars, and joined up with the official Anzac day parade.
The procession joined at the far end of the official parade and started marching towards the Canberra War Memorial. Members of the general public seeing the unofficial part of the parade applauded. As the group arrived at the War Memorial entrance, riot police blocked them from entering.
The group of Aboriginal led activists stopped and started singing “lest we forget”. One of the group leaders, Vince, gave a speech to the riot police and the surrounding public. The speech was about how during the Frontier Wars Aboriginal people died defending what they knew to be Australia.
The Frontier Wars refer to a series of battles when white settlers were expanding into Aboriginal communities from 1770 to 1934, though some say it is still happening now. It is estimated that around 40,000 people died in those wars. The Frontier Wars do not get any acknowledgement during ANZAC Day.
The Aboriginal activists are hoping to get more people to join the Frontier Wars procession for next year’s ANZAC Day, and extend an open invitation to all to come visit the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.