Recognising land’s traditional owners

By Seymour Telegraph

As part of Reconciliation Week, Mitchell Shire Council recently launched its first ever ‘‘acknowledging our traditional owners resource guide’’.

The guide has been developed so any community member can pick it up and learn more about acknowledgement of country and traditional owners, welcome to country, flags and celebrations, key dates acknowledged throughout the year and terminology and group names.

The guide also highlights Mitchell Shire Council’s commitment to reconciliation, to closing the gap and acknowledging one of the oldest and proudest cultures in the world.

By launching the guide council hoped to provide knowledge and information that would support the community.

The guide will also help the community learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community, including those of the Taungurung and Wurundjeri peoples.

The guide was written alongside Taungurung Land and Waters Council’s Matthew Burns and Kathy Mexted, Lower Hume Primary Care partnership Aboriginal Wellbeing Project’s Rebecca Walsh and the local Aboriginal network.

Mitchell Shire’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has grown since 2011 by 62 per cent and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now account for 1.59 per cent of the shire’s population.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said it was a privilege to launch the guide for the community and local Aboriginal people.

‘‘This guide is a highlight for Mitchell Shire Council’s social justice framework,’’ he said.

‘‘The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, along with other sections of people throughout the municipality, are the priority in this framework and the practice guide is a direct accomplishment from the actions within that,’’ he said.

Cr Rhonda Sanderson said the guide was special for all people in the region, and she was honoured to celebrate this achievement with the community.

‘‘I would like to thank those who developed the guide. It is wonderful to see a collaborative approach to a guide of this kind — and something which will live on in our municipality for generations to come,’’ she said.