Queen’s Mixed Legacy for Indigenous Peoples



The lingering pain and trauma inflicted by the British monarchy on Indigenous Australians has been addressed in powerful speeches before parliament.

Federal politicians used condolences to Queen Elizabeth II to call for more reconciliation and reflection on the impact of colonization.

Indigenous Australian minister Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, said there had been a range of emotions among the community following the Queen’s death.

“For many Indigenous Australians, the legacy of the monarchy is fraught – a complex, difficult and painful reminder of the impact of colonisation,” she told parliament.

“The Queen’s relationship with Indigenous Australians reflects both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.”

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Greens leader Adam Bandt called for a treaty with indigenous peoples after the queen’s death.

“We need to recognize the cultural, structural and institutional ways in which the crown, of which we continue to be a part, has oppressed First Nations people here and around the world,” he said.

“When it comes to our history, there is no glory and pretense, because the pain of colonization is real.”

Greens Senator Dorinda Cox, a Yamatji-Noongar woman, said feelings among the indigenous people ranged from anger to stress, pain and frustration.

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“We are a mature nation, people will have conversations that commemorate both the life of a public figure and the troubled legacy of the British Empire,” she said.

Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, a Yanyuwa woman, spoke of mixed feelings among her own family.

“We have thought about what the monarchy has meant, and what the world of colonialism has meant, and know deeply, the pain of the border wars and the conflicts that came with them,” she said.

“Maybe the Queen wasn’t directly responsible for that, but we know these are the mixed feelings and emotions of so many around the world in the Commonwealth countries for First Nations people.”

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Liberal Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, a woman from Warlpiri, said Australia should be “grateful” for the British invasion.

“Like any nation around the world, our history contains dark and shameful incidents, we should never shy away from recognizing them because they are part of our identity,” she said.

“This landmass we call home would never go untouched by anyone but our first peoples.

“We can be thankful that it was in fact the British who settled here before the many other possible settlers.”



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