One of many strategic actions from the City’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the new procedure, guidelines and protocols acknowledge the importance of Welcome to Country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and its importance to the City of Perth’s heritage and identity.
Chair of Commissioners Eric Lumsden said the protocols aimed to improve understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture among City staff and the broader community, as well as demonstrate respect for Aboriginal culture and history.
“Within the broader goals of the RAP, this protocol aims to encourage the community to share in Aboriginal culture, leading to stronger community relationships and understanding,” Commissioner Lumsden said.
“While the City of Perth has traditionally recognised Aboriginal history and culture at major events and functions, this protocol will ensure a consistent approach is taken across the organisation.
“A Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country will be implemented throughout relevant City of Perth activities such as functions, public meetings, major events and corporate publications.”
The Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Ownership – City of Perth Guidelines and Protocols will be made available on the City’s website shortly.
‘Country’ is the term used by Aboriginal peoples to identify, locate and connect themselves and each other to a particular language group and place (the land or sea) they identify with, belong to and have cultural obligations to.
Traditionally, people crossing from one ‘country’ to another will participate in an exchange of rituals and protocols to:
- Ensure safe crossing and/or successful business
- Honour the spirits and ancestral beings of the place
- Appropriately address Elders and senior men, senior women and those with influence and high regard in the community.
Not only does a contemporary Welcome to Country offer a ‘welcome’ to the land to grant safety, success and clear communication, it also increases understanding of Aboriginal culture and strengthens the journey to reconciliation.
Issued by Michael Holland, Senior Media Advisor, 0409 378 926, firstname.lastname@example.org