Yalmambirra: Wiradjuri welcome to country
Firstly I would like to thank Greening Australia and Land & Water Australia for the invitation to welcome you to Wiradjuri Country. This is an important protocol but is one that is often overlooked for a variety of reasons.
In the years BC (before Cook), the environments came under the custodianship of all Indigenous peoples and wherever we went in our travels, through either our own country or into and through someone else's, we had a duty of care to tend to the needs of our earth mother.
Our knowledge of the environments came from our respective Creators and we had our own 'scientists'; those with all the knowledge. That knowledge base had rapidly deteriorated in the face of invasion, settlement, or colonisation (whatever word you wish to use) but today with the help of Elders that special gift of caring for country is being rekindled.
Indigenous peoples are not the panacea for all the ills that have befallen this country however, but if we work in partnership with organisations, groups, Governments and individuals, then perhaps we can right the ship so to speak. To do this though means taking into consideration the feelings, thoughts, concerns, skills, experiences, and the knowledge of all who would care for country.
The Wiradjuri Council of Elders are pleased that Greening Australia and Land & Water Australia have followed protocols that may lead us all to the path of environmental conservation and enrichment.
On behalf of the Wiradjuri Council of Elders: Gawaimbanna-Gu Wiradjuri Nhurranbaang (Welcome to Wiradjuri Country) and in so saying, we wish each of you safe travels and wish you a very successful conference.
*Please note: Yalmambirra's paper 'Perceptions of consultation: Indigenous perspectives' was presented on Day 3 in Colloquia A. It can be accessed from both locations on this site.