Reconciliation in the Park - 11 July 2021
Council acknowledges the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners of this land and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of the Greater Geelong community today.
- Wadawurrung Traditional Custodians and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today
- Mayor Stephanie Asher (tentative) and Cr Sarah Mansfield
- Christine Couzens MP
- Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group
- Good morning everyone, I’m really excited to be here.
- With lockdown in Sydney and restrictions around the country, I’m so glad we could be together for Reconciliation in the Park, which was rescheduled from May.
- And it’s so fitting that it falls on the last day of NAIDOC Week.
- What I love about this annual event and NAIDOC Week in general is that they’re a chance for everyone to celebrate and learn about the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including our Wadawurrung Traditional Owners.
- It’s great to see the Indigenous community of Greater Geelong and beyond, coming together and celebrating its culture.
- As chair of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, I’m enjoying discovering more and more about it.
- I recognise and respect our Traditional Owners’ contributions in the community, their strengths, their stories and their knowledge of the land.
- The ongoing journey towards reconciliation between our Indigenous people and non-Indigenous members is a priority of council, which is why we adopted our first Reconciliation Action Plan last year.
- This plan is all about making good on promises, turning words and good intentions into action. The tool is giving the City a framework on achieving equality and building positive relationships, and we have achieved a number of actions over the past year or so.
- Our first ever First Nations cultural heritage grants program is now open, recognising that Traditional Owners have cared and nurtured for our land for tens of thousands of years.
- There are plenty of projects that fit into this category, such as developing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for an Aboriginal Heritage Place or installing fencing to protect a site.
- Head to the Geelong Australia website for information.
- Obviously these are great initiatives, but as we all know – more needs to be done.
- Reconciliation is about understanding, learning about and from history and culture, and healing. It requires a humble approach by non-Indigenous people. We need to truly listen to what is being said.
- Thank you to everyone who is involved in driving reconciliation in the community and to our Wadawurrung Traditional Owners who are generous in their time teaching and leading.
- Djillong, pronounced Geelong since Europeans came to the area, means ‘a tongue of land’.
- I encourage non-Indigenous people in Greater Geelong to learn the full history of Djillong, as a step forward towards truth, healing and reconciliation. Let’s listen and learn.