AFLW star Daisy Pearce has backed the league’s decision to scrap a minute’s silence following the death of Queen Elizabeth II during its indigenous round fixtures.
After the minute of silence was observed for the opening match of the round, the AFL went back on its decision, in what was described as a “public relations mess”.
Pearce, arguably the biggest name in the AFLW competition, backed the decision to scrap the Queen tribute, explaining how the monarchy represents “pain, trauma and ongoing oppression” for Australia’s First Nations people.
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”This all comes down to which version of our nation’s history you give voice to and bring to the fore,” she told SEN.
“To me, indigenous round is a time not just for celebrating colorful jumpers, as awesome as they are, and not just for celebrating indigenous players, but about educating ourselves and concerning ourselves with the facts in this country’s history that aren’t well told and giving aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a platform for telling their stories.
“What I’ve learned through going through that process with a number of indigenous rounds is that for First Nations people colonialism is not something that’s universally celebrated.
“It represents the genocide of their people, the theft of their land, the erasure of their culture and way of life, the loss of their wealth, their basic human rights and their children.”
Pearce also touched on the impact of the stolen generation, particularly since she became a parent herself.
“The stolen generation forever has been awful, but now as a parent, to think of the idea of someone turning up at your door and taking your children and scattering them around so that they’re almost untraceable, I just can’t fathom that ,” she said.
“There was legislation in this country that remained for decades in some states as recently as the 1970s, this isn’t some ancient barbaric history that happened way back when, this happened in our lifetimes.
“The trauma and pain associated with that didn’t end with the removal of that legislation, it endures now, and it has a very real effect on people and families and identities right now.”
Pearce didn’t downplay why the Queen’s death was a significant event in so many people’s lives, but explained why the celebration of Her Majesty’s life during the AFLW’s indigenous round did not sit well with indigenous people
”While for many Australians and people around the world the Queen represents a long remarkable reign marked by goodwill, grace, leadership, family and service, for a group of very significant Australians, the first owners of this land, it doesn’t ,” she said.
“I understand that the Queen inherited her role at a very young age and was not directly to blame for all these past atrocities and that she did an enormous amount of good. But for indigenous people she leaves a 70-year legacy as the figurehead of colonialism.
“What I’m hearing, reading and learning through what I get to learn in indigenous round is that for a lot of First Nations people she represents pain and trauma and ongoing oppression that they don’t want to celebrate.”
Round 4 of the AFLW season gets underway on Friday evening when North Melbourne hosts Geelong at UTAS Stadium at 5:10pm AEST.
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