12 julho 2015

July 12th 1971: Australian Aboriginal Flag first flownOn this...

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Harold Thomas

Cathy Freeman at the Commonwealth Games

July 12th 1971: Australian Aboriginal Flag first flown

On this day in 1971, the Australian Aboriginal Flag was flown for the first time. Designed by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas, the flag represents the unity and identity of indigenous Australians; the black half symbolises the Aboriginal people, the yellow circle the sun, and the red half the red earth which is central to indigenous religious ceremonies. It was debuted during the National Aborigines Day celebrations in Adelaide during the height of the indigenous campaign for land rights as an attempt to gain more visibility. While accepted as the flag of the unofficial Aboriginal ‘Tent Embassy’ in the capital city of Canberra in 1972, it was not proclaimed a ‘Flag of Australia’ until 1995. Before then, the flag remained a point of controversy, especially when Aboriginal sprinter Cathy Freeman carried both the Aboriginal and Australian national flag during a victory lap in the 1994 Commonwealth Games. By the 2000 Sydney Olympics, however, attitudes had changed and Freeman was praised for carrying the Aboriginal flag with pride. Some campaigners have called for the Aboriginal flag to replace the Union Jack in the upper-left corner of the current Australian flag to create a new national symbol, though Harold Thomas himself opposes this idea. Since 2002, as part of a wider effort at reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, the Aboriginal flag has permanently flown in Victoria Square, Adelaide, where it debuted in 1971.

“This was my race and no one was going to stop me telling the world how proud I was to be Aboriginal. Somewhere deep inside, I’d absorbed all the pain and suffering my people had endured and turned it into a source of strength”
- Cathy Freeman

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