Federation Council will now formally acknowledge the shire’s Aboriginal ties before each meeting.
Administrator Mike Eden adopted a recommendation at council’s July 18 meeting to have an acknowledgment of country spoken before council meetings and a welcome to country at major council events.
Mr Eden also added to the recommendation to investigate the cost to install another flag pole outside the Corowa Civic Centre to fly the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag.
“I think it is an oversight by the council that we don’t have an Indigenous flag also flying out the front of the Civic Centre,” Mr Eden said at the meeting.
“I don’t think it is necessary at other council-owned properties, but I think here we should be looking at it.”
Mr Eden said Federation Council recognised the traditional caretakers and custodians of the land and their unique position in the history and culture of Federation Council.
He said it was important the position and responsibilities held by these people were duly recognised and incorporated into official protocol to enable everyone to share in Aboriginal culture and facilitate better relationships between Aboriginal cultures and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
Council explained in its agenda a relatively new name – Bpangerang, tying the words Bangerang and Pangerang.
Whilst known as the ‘Bangerang’ people, advice from a local elder highlighted a recent agreement has been formed to enable the amalgamation of two different versions of the name from Aboriginal history.
The resulting name of ‘Bpangerang’ is now referred to among the Aboriginal people as the original owners of the land in the Federation Council area.
By incorporating Aboriginal ceremonies into official Federation Council events, council is able to:
Recognise and pay respect to Aboriginal peoples’ cultures and heritage.
Communicate to all people of Australia the cultural heritage of Aboriginal peoples and to promote development of mutual respect and understanding.
Provide opportunities to witness and experience Aboriginal cultures first hand and to change perceptions by demonstrating that Aboriginal cultures are “living” and “enduring”.
Build and strengthen relations with Aboriginal peoples and their communities.
To support this process guidelines have been developed in consultation with a local Bpangerang elder and Director of Bpangerang Aboriginal Corporation Inc., Freddie Dowling.
The guidelines outline the process and options for the inclusion of an acknowledgment of country or a welcome to country as deemed appropriate for council events and meetings.
Welcome to country can only be made by an Aboriginal traditional land owner.
It is a statement of welcome to attendees.
Acknowledgement of country can be made by someone (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal who is not a traditional land owner). It is a statement of recognition.