As we mark National NAIDOC week the Governor has recorded a special message for all West Australians.
This year’s theme Heal Country calls on all of us to continue to seek greater understanding and appreciation of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage and to equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.
We invite you to view the Governor’s video message below.
I want to acknowledge the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation from whose country we are speaking this broadcast and I pay my respects to their elders past and present.
Our country shapes our identity and permeates through all aspects of our lives – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.
Country is more than a place. For the world’s oldest continuous culture – our First Australians – Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and language. It has been this way since the dawn of time.
As the theme of NAIDOC Week 2021, Heal Country is a theme that challenges us. It is a statement by our Aboriginal Community that amplifies their role over millennia as protectors over our land, our waters and of course, those who have come to be identified by them as sacred sites from desecration and destruction.
That is an approach, a view, a set of principles which is becoming more pervasive in the broader community both as a desirable policy but also as a massive contribution of the original inhabitants of this country to our understanding of it.
It is a culture, facets of which are spreading. We in Western Australia have very special attributes in this regard. We are, in many ways, the native title state. When all claims are concluded, when the second of what are effectively two treaties, has been concluded, that with the southern Yamatji people, around about 75% will be under Native Title Ownership. That includes effectively two treaties and that will be 90% by area of Native Title in Australia.
There is a long way to go but gradually, slowly but inexorably, the process of proper recognition of prior ownership, is coming to pass here. Gradually, slowly, inexorably, the broader community is coming to appreciate the extraordinary character of the first peoples of this nation.
There are now many groups working towards, not simply reconciliation but understanding and it is my hope that as we approach the bicentennial of European settlement, there will be an understanding of the spirit and character of the original inhabitants and an ability to walk together.
– Governor Beazley