Council acknowledges traditional owners

Cr Debbie Devlin has been instrumental in the push to include the Acknowledgement of Country.

Cr Debbie Devlin has been instrumental in the push to include the Acknowledgement of Country.

An Acknowledgment of Country has become a recent fixture at the beginning of official events for the Port Pirie Regional Council.

The gesture has taken several attempts to get through council meetings, but is now a permanent feature and is recited by Mayor John Rohde at events ranging from mayoral receptions to council meetings.

An Acknowledgement of Country is spoken as a way to honour the original custodians of the land and can be performed by anybody, indigenous and non-indigenous, wanting to pay respect.

Port Pirie has multiple Aboriginal groups with ancestral links to Port Pirie with the lands working as a meeting place for the different tribes.

“I think from any level of civic responsibility, it is important that we acknowledge the original peoples and it was definitely something that Cr Debbie Devlin was keen to see happen. She was the one who put the move forward at our first meeting as a new council,” Mr Rohde said.

“I think it is important to recognise the original custodians of the land.”

Due to the multiple groups with links to the council area, a Welcome to Country, which is performed exclusively by Indigenous Australians, cannot take place in Port Pirie, and an Acknowledgement of Country must be broad statement, rather than acknowledging a specific tribe.

The Acknowledgement of Country spoken by Mr Rohde at the meetings states: “We acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians whose ancestral lands we are meeting upon today.”