For non-Indigenous Australians, January 26 has in recent years been celebrated as ‘Australia Day’; for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, it’s Invasion Day — a day of mourning, survival and protest. The date has become a day of mourning for what the tall ships from England brought with them — death, suffering, and the beginning of what’s now over two centuries of injustice and dispossession to First Nations people.

Being a good ally to Indigenous Australians is about more than talking the talk; you need to walk the walk. This means that you need to take action, too, but on January 26 that could be very literal — by walking in an Invasion Day protest.

If you’re still a bit unsure why many people want Australia Day to be shifted from January 26, this excerpt from Crystal Andrews‘ book written in consultation with Tiddas 4 Tiddas founder Marlee Silva goes over the importance of recognising Australia’s long Indigenous history, including the colonisation of the land after English explorers first entered Gadigal land over 250 years ago.

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Thousands of people mark January 26 as a day to mourn those who have passed and hold protests and demonstrations to fight for Indigenous rights.

Just about every major capital city holds rallies and gatherings to call for action on things such as transparency around Indigenous deaths in custody, the inclusion of First Nations people in the Australian constitution and changing the date of Australia Day from January 26.

So here is a list of gatherings, protests, demonstrations, rallies, and marches on Wednesday, January 26, for you to get along to and stand in solidarity with First Nations people across the mainland and our surrounding islands.

This year, some gatherings have pivoted to online events to protect vulnerable people in the community, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The in-person marches and protests that are going ahead are strictly COVID safe, with protesters asked to show up in masks, keep socially distanced and be aware of people around them. As always, if you feel unwell on the day, please stay home and support through paying the rent and participating online instead.

For those who want to stay home and away from the crowds, NITV has a full day of excellent programming lined up for January 26, kicking off with a live Sunrise Ceremony on Bundjalung and Yugambeh Country in Coolangatta, QLD — presented by John Paul Janke and Narelda Jacobs and simulcast on Channel 10 followed by rolling coverage of all the protests and rallies across the country by NITV News.

Invasion Day 2022 Protests & Gatherings

Where to attend: Warrang / Sydney

INVASION DAY 2022 RALLY

Meet at 10am at the Town Hall, before a silent march to Australia Hall on Elizabeth St, following the steps of the 1938 Day of Mourning, before moving on to Yabun Festival at Victoria Park.

Protesters are asked to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing throughout the protest and to please stay home if they’re feeling unwell.

YABUN FESTIVAL

Celebrating 20 years, Yabun returns to Victoria Park in Broadway this year, while also streamed on the Yabun Festival website and on Koori Radio 93.7FM from 12pm.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Yabun stage will be held once again at the Seymour Centre across the road as a ticketed event. The Yabun Stage will have very limited attendance, while Speak Out and Corroboree are closed events and will be live-streamed only.

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Where to attend: Naarm / Melbourne

INVASION DAY DAWN SERVICE

This year’s Dawn Service is a fully online event this year, with the Victorian NAIDOC Committee streaming online and across multiple platforms from 6.15am on January 26.

You can register for a link to the virtual service, and tune in from home on Wednesday morning.

INVASION DAY 2022 MARCH

Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) has cancelled the annual march in Naarm/Melbourne for 2022, in efforts to protect Elders and the wider community from COVID. It’s the first time in 15 years that WAR has cancelled the event, and has urged people to attend the virtual Dawn Service and help pay the rent by financially supporting the Anaiwan Land buy back instead.

BALIT NURRAN / SHARE THE SPIRIT FESTIVAL

Share The Spirit Festival has also been cancelled for 2022, with the directors of Songlines Music Aboriginal Corporation actively looking to protect the community through the current COVID risks.

Where to attend: Tandanya / Adelaide

SURVIVAL DAY 2022

Following a free, ticketed smoking ceremony at Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama at 8am, this year’s Survival Day is happening at Tarndanyangga, Victoria Square between 12-4:00pm, with the march beginning at 1pm.

This year’s event stands in solidarity with the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Masks are mandatory and attendees are asked to check in using the QR codes, and maintain social distancing.

Where to attend: Boorloo / Perth

INVASION DAY 2022 RALLY

An Invasion Day rally is currently planned for Forest Place, on Wellington Street in Boorloo (Perth), from 12pm, with attendees asked to bring masks and hand sanitiser to keep things COVID-safe. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Where to attend: Meeanjin / Brisbane

INVASION DAY RALLY

Kicking off at 8am at Queens Gardens for sign making, the march begins at 10am and will finish at Musgrave Park. Local businesses will also have a pop-up mini market across the event locations. Protesters are required to bring face masks, socially distance or stay home if they’re feeling unwell.

Where to attend: Ngunnawal Country / Canberra

50TH ANNIVERSARY ABORIGINAL TENT EMBASSY & MARCH

2022 marks the 50th year of the Tent Embassy, which has occupied on the lawns of Old Parliament House since 26th January, 1972 and is now one of the longest continuing protest sites in the world.

Around 500 registered delegates are expected to be on the ground at the Tent Embassy between January 25-27, with an Invasion Day march going from the Embassy to Parliament House from 10am on the 26th.

While the march is free to attend, organisers are asking people to register online before the march as they’re expecting up to 7000 people to show up on the 26th.

Where to attend: Larrakia Country / Darwin

JANUARY 26: REST IS RESISTANCE

Grassroots organisation Uprising of the People (UP) are encouraging people to rest as a form of resistance instead of gathering to protest in the community. The organisation is urging people in the Larrakia area to keep COVID safe by staying home and resting if you’re part of the Indigenous community.

Allies are encouraged to not take the public holiday and work (if possible) and help the community by sourcing and providing masks and rapid tests to neighbours to help keep the NT safe.

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Where to attend: muwinina Country / Hobart

ONLINE INVASION DAY RALLY

This year’s rally by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has pivoted to an online event in order to keep the community and allies safe from COVID. Including a Welcome to Country, a memorial minute’s silence, dance ceremonies and a line up of speakers, the event will be broadcast live on the TAC and City of Launceston Facebook pages from 11.45am.

Common Ground also has an extensive list of more important dates of significance for First Nations people throughout 2022, beyond Invasion Day. So if you’re keen on standing in solidarity and holding space for your local Indigenous community, you can find something closer to home on the Common Ground website.

Image: Getty Images / Robert Cianflone