CANBERRA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has launched an initiative to commemorate Captain James Cook's arrival in the country and its impact on indigenous peoples.
Ken Wyatt, minister for indigenous affairs, announced the Encounter 2020 program on Thursday, saying it would commemorate the 250th anniversary of Cook's arrival while also acknowledging the lasting impact it had on the country's First Peoples.
Cook's arrival in 1770 is considered by many indigenous Australians to be the beginning of the invasion of the continent by white Europeans.
Wyatt, the first indigenous Australian to serve as minister for indigenous affairs, told reporters at the Australian National Maritime Museum, which is in charge of Encounter 2020, that "Cook's visit in 1770s is not viewed by all Australians in the same way."
"For some, it represents a unique and important scientific journey of discovery and, for some, the legacy of the voyage symbolizes loss of country, language and culture," he said.
"It is important that messages reflect both perspectives - the view from the ship and the view from the shore.
"It is a shared history of our nation's point in time from which we emerge on a journey that realized the way in which we live today."
Cook's expedition paved the way for British colonization of Australia, which began with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
As part of the program a replica of HMB Endeavour, Cook's ship, will circumnavigate Australia.
It will be accompanied by an exhibition, which will be set up in each of the 26 ports that the ship visits.
"Marking 250 years since Captain James Cook's first Pacific voyage will allow all Australians to reflect on, discuss and re-evaluate the lasting impact that this has had on us all," Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said.