Welcome to Country

Country
Guy Fawkes River National Park near Ebor Falls
Northern Rivers Region, New South Wales, Australia
These parks are located in the traditional lands of the Gumbaynggirr and Banbai Aboriginal people.
Sites of high cultural significance are located along traditional walking routes between the Boyd River and high country around Ebor.
[Click image to enlarge, photo by Editor 20131025, © under  ^Creative Commons]
 

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Welcome to Country

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<< I am so honoured to have been asked to be with you here today and would like to thank the Custodians and Keepers of this country, both past and present, for the privilege, of welcoming you, this morning.

I extend, a very special welcome to all the Elders with us today, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Becoming welcomed to country, is not just saying “welcome to the country of the Wonnarua, Tharawal, Gandangara, Wiradjuri, Gomilaroi, Bandjalung, worimi and leaving it at that.

It’s about wanting our welcomed people to at least, at some time in their lives, experience some of the many important cultural aspects of our countries, which have survived.
Our languages, our songs, dances, stories, foods, kinships, arts and histories.

It’s about shedding ourselves of all of those negative generalisations, stereotypes and guilt, which some of us, may still have for each other.

It’s about wanting welcomed peoples, to get to know us, in all our positive ways.

History tells us that our peoples went through some very terrible times, with some legacies of those times, still yet to be addressed, positively.

It’s about non Indigenous Australia’s sincere recognition,that this whole country was already under custodianship, respected and nurtured by people, before the advent of British rule.

It’s about seeing each other as equals, and commemorating the positive developments of this country, which we have all shared in, as being Australians together.

My peoples have merged and interacted with the new people who came to our lands since Invasion times started in 1788 and will continue to do so.

We now speak your English, wear your attire, do your dances, play your sports, eat your foods, sing your songs and know your stories and histories.

There are also non Indigenous people who speak our languages, sing our songs, eat our foods and know our stories and histories.

We have integrated into your many religious, political, social and sporting, organisations and in doing so, became one of this countries most integrative groups.

Our women married into the first Irish, Anglo and Celtic stock, plus those groups which came here under the many immigration policies this country has had, especially after the 1940s.

We are all Australians today, aren’t we?

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the Gadigal Clan of the Eora Nation whose land this function is now on, to sincerely welcome you in their language, the language of this country.

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Boodyeri Mulinawul!
Good Morning!

Dyinalyungs, Mullabos,  Guragalungalyungs, Guragalyungs
Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys.

Gurigarang tali ngia niya bidya mulinawul
Glad to see you here this morning

Dali dingaladi bamal marana Yura Warrane Eora
This is the land of the original peoples of  Sydney, the Eora.

Wingara ngubadi Eora Bamal
Please Respect Eora Land.

Garigarang walama wugul kamaru
May your stay here be fruitful and safe and your departure, in peace.

Yanu Yanu.
Bye Bye’. >>

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[Source:  ‘Welcome to Country’, Aboriginal speech delivered at the start of the 2013 Masters Interpretation Workshop, Thursday, November 21, 2013,  by James Wilson-Miller, Curator, Koori Arts, History & Design, Design & Society, Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW 2007 Australia]

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One Response to “Welcome to Country”

  1. Barbara Pelczynska says:

    Thanks for publishing James Wilson- Miller’s “Welcome to country” speech. I hope that it will be read widely and influence non-Indigenous Australians to acknowledge past wrongs and become respectful for “country” and its Peoples.
    For the meaning of “country” see Deborah Bird Rose’s “Nourishing Terrain, Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness”; Australian Heritage Commission, 1996 (This essay as well as two of Bird’s reports for the NSW Parks & Wildlife Service, are available on internet).

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