A Portland Indigenous man has blasted protesters who sprayed graffiti on a monument to Victoria's first European settlers.
Jamie Scott Anderson, originally from Mount Gambier, said those who had committed the offence on the Portland monument had shown a complete lack of respect.
"Everyone should be equal, we're all the same. Us Aboriginal people have been getting it pretty good for many years," he said.
"I hope that an Aboriginal person didn't do this, but after I put the picture on Facebook there were some pretty negative comments from Aboriginal people.
"I would like to think that I say it how it is. We've got it pretty good. If you want more, go and get a job and earn it.
"I did not want to offend anyone. I was just being honest. It's my opinion and I accept people have the right to have a different opinion."
Words spray-painted onto the monument commemorating the arrival of Europeans in Portland during the 1830s has sparked plenty of comment.
Police are working to identify those responsible for spray painting a message that Indigenous sovereignty was never ceded.
Portland is Victoria's oldest European settlement, predating Melbourne being established.
Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Damein Bell said Gunditjmara community members needed to discuss how monuments celebrating European history should be treated.
He said the issue had caused plenty of discussion in the community and it was raised at a Glenelg Shire Council meeting.
"Ultimately we want all history and heritage to be placed in its proper context," he said.
"There's talk of doing something at massacre places across the district and we're working on having discussions about squatter monuments."
Mr Bell said the COVID-19 pandemic was a chance for anyone interested to educate themselves and the broader community about historical incidents.
"In the current era of access to online information, ignorance is no longer an excuse," he said.
"At this time, while we're restricted in terms of gathering to discuss these issues, people may have the opportunity to educate themselves," he said.
Mr Anderson said he could see no benefit damaging property.
"It would be exactly the same as someone going to one of our sacred sites and putting graffiti on it. We would be just as offended," he said.
"People need to just get along, why can't we just get along? We're meant to be a multicultural society.
"There seems to be great divide but I can't understand why.
"We should be respectful of everyone's culture whether they are black, white, Asian or African. That's what's wrong with the world."
Mr Anderson said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while being arrested by police on May 25 was a tragedy which should never have happened.
"The Black Lives Matter protests really took off in America. That was very political and it was just a big distraction from the COVID, even here in Victoria.
"The focus should have been on the deadly worldwide virus but everyone was focused on Black Lives Matter.
"You see so many negative things on Facebook and all I ask is that people be respectful. People can have different views, different opinions."
Following Black Lives Matter protests worldwide, statues and monuments have been altered or taken down.
There have been clashes involving Aboriginals and European settlers documented since Europeans arrived in Australia, including an account of up to 200 Aboriginal deaths in 1833 after a dispute between whalers and Gunditjmara people over a beached whale.
Mr Anderson said he was from Mount Gambier but due to the COVID-19 border restrictions he couldn't go and put flowers on his parents' graves.
"I understand that. I'm 46-years-old with three kids and work full-time in a log yard," he said.
"I just want my kids to grow up respectful, appreciate that people may have different views."
Mr Anderson said his father's family were Nukunu people from Port Augusta.
"Yes, there were things that happened many years ago but if you keep picking at an open wound it will never heal," he said.
"You can't keep living in the past. Everyone should just get along, there's too much hate, too many angry people."
"You can't seem to say you're being racist to an Aboriginal, but is that any different to anyone else being racist.
"It's time to move on and live together in harmony, even people with different views."
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