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The Forum > Article Comments > Welcome to Country: more than a symbol > Comments

Welcome to Country: more than a symbol : Comments

By Malcolm King, published 26/5/2011

The Victorian government's abandonment of the practice of Welcome to Country shows disrespect for the past, and the future.

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They haven't banned the Welcome to Country. It will still mostly be made. They just dropped the requirement that it has to be made at the start of every single meeting regardless of size, location or audience.
Posted by Raptor, Thursday, 26 May 2011 9:47:04 AM
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It's up to whether the Lib/Nat Minister wants to. Consider Welcome to Country dropped.
Posted by Cheryl, Thursday, 26 May 2011 9:52:46 AM
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'It begins, I think, with the act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion.

On the other hand we brought the medicine, made the electricity, built the hospitals, the roads, ended some very ugly tribal practices, made the money to buy the alcholol and provided education.A little bit of balance please. Maybe the 'welcome to country'should be accompanied by 'thanks for coming'.
Posted by runner, Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:12:23 AM
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Welcome to Country ceremonies perform another purpose that all Australians can enjoy. They add a bit a history; a sense of romance, pride, and shared humanity; a reaching back in time -- something which Australian public occasions would otherwise totally lack. British public occasions are seeped in these little bits of magic -- witness Black Rod and the State Opening of Parliament. Symbols of Maori indigenous culture are enjoyed the world over thanks, in part but not entirely, to the All Blacks. Australian public occasions need more of these little rituals, not fewer.
Posted by WriteOnTheBack, Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:21:45 AM
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Perhaps if every time such a symbolic ceremony was performed, a more substantial gesture could be made, by putting say $ 100, or whatever may be commensurate with theoccasion, in the pot, to eventually purchase some of that land which people are standing on, for the local group.

Back in 1984, in the lead-up to the 1986 Sesquicentenary (150 years, 1836-1986) here in SA, I suggested to a couple of Aboriginal people involved in planning responses, that maybe signs could be put along every main road, saying something like "You are now entering Ngarrindjeri country," or "Goodbye, you are now leaving Kokatha country," in the Flag colours. For some reason, they weren't enthusiastic.

But I still think that it could have been adopted across the country, with signs in the tens of thousands: it could have employed many Indigenous people and forced a far better understanding of where border zones might have actually been. Within the lands of major groups like 'Wailbri', or 'Bundjalung', or 'Yolngu' or 'Wiradjuri', local people could have put up signs according to dialect groups, or family groups, since that was usually the way landholding rights were recognised.

It still might fly ?

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:37:08 AM
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I have always detested tokenism.

It makes my skin crawl when I see a bunch of people, with skin whiter than mine, dresses up in something approaching polynesian garb, pretending to present some aboriginal ceremony.

The fact that the actions required, & the true meaning of most of these ceremonies were lost a 100 years ago, just makes it that much worse. I feel demeaned by this stuff, & believe any any aboriginals, who are not part of the aboriginal industry must feel the same way.

I have been invited to, & attended with pride, a number of ceremonies in the Pacific islands. The difference in atmosphere between these genuine tribal acts, & the commercial tripe presented by a dance troupe masquerading as tradition is immense.

The one time I was near a traditional ceremony up on the cape, & was quietly, & gently advised I had no right to be there, as it was private. Now that I can respect.
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:27:54 AM
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