A Ngunnawal elder believes the true reconciliation cannot be achieved in Australia until the government recognises the existence of the frontier wars between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is calling on the Australian War Memorial and the federal and ACT governments to formally recognise the deaths of tens of thousands of Indigenous people during the colonisation of Australia.
Almost 19,000 people have signed a petition which backs the embassy's push for a national day of remembrance and for a monument to be erected on Anzac Parade in front of the War Memorial.
They are demanding an official inquiry into the massacres of Aboriginal people during European settlement and want the frontier wars to be included in the Australian curriculum.
But Ngunnawal elder Patrick Lock said the federal government is reluctant to acknowledge the frontier wars even happened.
"The people need to understand that this wasn't just a war, it was genocide in the most gruesome form that could ever be imagined by man," Mr Lock said.
"We need to turn around and be able to now as human beings to have the dignity and respect that we need to farewell these people and allow them to enter into our Dreamtime with the greatest of respect that they deserve."
While war was never formally declared on Australia's original inhabitants, clashes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people raged for almost 150 years until the emergence of the Aboriginal rights movement in the 1930s.
Conservative estimates place the death toll at about 20,000 between 1788 and 1934.
Other estimates indicate up to 115,000 Aboriginal men, women and children were killed in Queensland alone.
It is believed up to 2000 non-Indigenous people, including settlers, police and paramilitary units, also died during the frontier wars.
Among more than 200 known massacre sites is what is now Lake Burley Griffin.
"We need for the government to recognise the fact that it was a war, unless they want to call it premeditated murder," Mr Lock said.
"If they said it happened and it was recognised, that would be the true step towards reconciliation, that would be the true step towards all of the issues they're covering up by their denial."
Two of the dates being examined for a national day of remembrance are April 29 and August 21.
April 29 is the date Captain James Cook landed in Botany Bay and first shot an Aboriginal man with a musket, while August 21 was when Australia was first declared for Great Britain, Dylan Wood from the tent embassy said.
He said two days which are not being considered are January 26 and April 25, despite a long history of protests on both days.
"The other two days are significant dates for other Australians too so what we're talking about is respect and reconciliation, we're talking about unity," Mr Wood said.
"They deserve their very own day of dignity because when you have a national day it's putting it in the national consciousness. We need our own day for that specific issue to put it in people's minds."
Key to their campaign is pushing for the inclusion of details of Aboriginal culture prior to European settlement in the curriculum, as well as teaching students about the frontier wars.
The matter will be discussed by Indigenous leaders at a National Summit at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra from March 18 to 20.
It is a free event but participants need to register via Eventbrite.
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