20 Ways You Can Support Indigenous People

That aren't black boxes on Instagram.

invasion day kgari

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This article was originally written in the lead-up to Invasion Day 2020, but in the light of the protests happening in the US, and the Black Lives Matter initiatives, we thought this list of ways to support Indigenous people in Australia was helpful to post again.

Put your money where your mouth is, and don’t stop at a black box on Instagram.

So, Amnesia Day is fast approaching…and every year I feel it coming with a huge sense of dread.

What with Facebook posts boasting “Aussie pride”, and the shops full of thongs and t-shirts plastered with the colonial flag — my heart just feels so heavy knowing that people will be standing around the BBQ, munching on their snags, and toasting the invasion and brutal and violent dispossession of my people.

However, it is also the time of year where good and decent people ask what they can do as allies to support us mob.

I’ve come up with a few suggestions, including ways to pay the rent, and while this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a start of the yarn:

1. Contribute to the Free Her campaign by Debbie Kilroy of Sisters Inside, which pays off the court debts of Aboriginal women incarcerated in Western Australia for defaulting on fines. Poverty must never be a crime.

In fact, here’s a list of bail funds and causes you can donate to:

Justice for Walker

Justice for Tanya Day

First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch

You can donate to:

Sisters Inside

Gumbaynggiirr Tent Embassy

Justice for David Dungay Junior

Free Her

2. Contribute to Deadly Science, which provides books and equipment to our remote schools, helping to develop a love of science and grow future scientists. You can donate money, or even sponsor a deadly junior scientist award.

3. Buy from blak businesses, here’s just a few: Haus of Dizzy, Lake Tyrrell Art, Kookorrniny Koondarms beautiful dreams, Koori Circle Earrings, Bush Medijina, Brandi Rose, Murri Menu, Wangullay Art, Ginny’s Girl Gang, Andos Art Prints, Gunditj Art, Clothing the Gap, Nungalicious Art, Bec Lee-Creating Dreams, PUNU carvings

4. Donate to Purple House — a health centre run by and for people from remote communities  — getting people home to country and family

5. Give to the UQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship fund. Every gift contributes to supporting Blak excellence

6. Send toothbrushes and toothpastes to Maningrida’s appeal via Babbarra Women’s Centre — PMB 102, Winnellie NT 0822

7. Challenge that racist uncle at your next BBQ. You don’t need to be aggressive, but every time we say nothing in the face of racism, we are silently siding with them

8. Attend a Survival Day gathering or any Indigenous led protest: there’s events and marches across the country, so show up and lend your support!

9. Buy a T-shirt or mug from talented designer, Kira Djinalie “Captain Cook was cooked!”, or “I live on stolen land”.

10. Now that Dutton has declared war on Bruce Pascoe, you could show your support for Bruce and buy his brilliant book, Dark Emu or buy Young Dark Emu for your kids. It’s a good way to truth tell about our nation’s First Peoples ingenuity.

11. Contribute to the campaign to support First Nation mob affected by the bush fire crisis. Here’s a couple:
South Coast Bush Fire Relief & Recovery Service GoFundMe, — Indigenous Crises Response
Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities

12. Turn up for blak fullas and weaponise whatever privileges you have access to. More often privileges are simple things like time, access to venues, access to content, having a platform that you can share.

13. Support the Black, Talented and Deadly fundraiser to provide mob with awesome t-shirts to wear on Invasion Day

14. Support First Nations leading action on the climate crisis

15. If you’re going away for the long weekend, try to find Aboriginal owned tour companies, and make sure you find out whose nation you are travelling to

16. Listen to and centre First Nation voices and knowledges — and respect our views and recognise your privilege

Beautifuldeadly Decolonisation


Wrong Kind of Black

Audacious Aboriginal

Amy McQuire

Hayden Moon

Australian Indigenous Politics

17. Learn your rights as a bystander — if you see mob being harassed by the police, observers can use the cop watch video recorder to record interactions safely

18. Buy the T-shirt “We will not stop, We won’t go away, We will never celebrate invasion day” with 100% of the money going to the First People of the Mellewa Mallee men’s and women’s groups

19. Get to know which Aboriginal nation you live, work and study on: acknowledge the custodians of that land, and remember the lands and waters across this country have been stolen. We have never ceded sovereignty.

20. Challenge people when they use reductive stereotypes of us… silence reinforces settler notions of Indigeneity and demean us every time

But most of all, check in on your Aboriginal friends and colleagues.

For most of us this is a time of mourning. We will be reflecting on the devastation of our country and our people, and somewhere in all that grief, we will be trying to celebrate in a small way, our survival.

For me, I firmly believe that my children are evidence of the strength of our resistance. They exist because of my old people’s struggle, and they are the answers to every one of my grandmother’s prayers. In them we trust…and still we rise.

Tabitha Lean is a Gunditjmara woman living on Kaurna country: nothing but my mother’s stories and the blood of all the women before me pumping through my veins.