Council's Acknowledgement of Country Statement adopted
Published on 01 April 2020
Gannawarra Shire Council has reviewed its Acknowledgement of Country Statement.
The Statement provides Council the opportunity to show respect for the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Gannawarra Shire covers and acknowledge the rich culture and connection to Country of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
First adopted in 2016, the reviewed statement recognises the Traditional Owners of the land within the Gannawarra as the Barapa Barapa, Wamba Wamba and Yorta Yorta people.
“An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mayor Lorraine Learmonth said.
The revised statement, which will be read out by the first speaker at any Council-organised event, function, meeting or other special occasion, is as follows:
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, their rich culture and connection to Country.
I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge Elders from other communities who may be meeting with us today.
“The incorporation of an Acknowledgement of Country into events, functions and meetings demonstrates that Council is proud of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rich cultural connection they have to Gannawarra’s Country,” Mayor Learmonth said.
“It also recognises the strong partnership Council has with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Council’s commitment to strengthening this partnership into the future.”
The adoption of the reviewed Acknowledgement of Country Statement coincides with the approval of protocols that will guide Council as to when it can broadcast its Welcome to Country video.
Launched in December 2019, the 85-second video was developed in partnership between Council, the Kerang Elders Group, Northern District Community Health and the Mallee District Aboriginal Services.
“The video uses imagery of the Gannawarra’s waterways and floodplains to positively promote Gannawarra’s vast environment and the rich cultural connection local Aboriginal people have with Country,” Mayor Learmonth said.
Although Council will endeavour to engage with Elders to conduct a formal Welcome to Country wherever possible at events and formal functions, the protocol enables Council to use the video clip at events or meetings where an Elder is not available to conduct a Welcome to Country.
“The protocol also enables the partner organisations involved in the development of the Welcome to Country Video to broadcast the video when an Elder is not available to conduct a formal Welcome to Country,” Mayor Learmonth said.
“The Welcome to Country Video and the protocol, provide Council and its partners with a unique opportunity to lead the way in promoting genuine respect of the traditional customs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who call the Gannawarra home.”