Captain James Cook | Sydney | Australia
Last week Emma Hollingsworth, an Aboriginal artist inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement launched a petition arguing for the removal of Captain James Cook statue in Cairns, Australia. The petition has attracted 16,000 signatures. In Sydney police were deployed this week to protect a statue of Cook and the government said it would consider tough new laws to safeguard colonial-era heritage. Prime Minister Scott Morrison ignited tensions amongst indigenous rights campaigners last week when waded in to the debate, defending Captain Cook as "one of the most enlightened persons" of his time and claimed "there was no slavery in Australia".
Cook’s statue, erected in 1879, still bears an inscription that reads "Discovered this territory in 1770." Indigenous occupation of Australia goes back about 65,000 years. For first nations Cook statue represents dispossession, forced removal, slavery, genocide, stolen land, and loss of culture, as well has banalizes the violent rupture of Aboriginal society and a legacy of pain and suffering that endures until today.