The Huon Valley Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the South East Nation, the Melukerdee people of the Huon River and the Lyluequonny people of the Far South. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and culture, and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
We are committed to strengthening our relationships and working partnerships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, so that we can support their languages, culture and heritage to be respected, shared and celebrated into the future.
In November 2019, we began our journey to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), to help guide and drive our reconciliation efforts as an organisation. Through a significant engagement process, we heard the aspirations of the local Aboriginal community, the wider Huon Valley, and our staff. The ideas and feedback received through this process directly shaped the actions set out in the RAP.
At the end of 2021, both Reconciliation Australia and Council endorsed the Huon Valley Council’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan which can be downloaded here.
If you would prefer please contact us for a printed version.
Artwork: Reuben Oates, From the Valley, 2020
Information about the local Aboriginal culture
About 18,000 people call the Huon Valley their home. The Huon Valley is made up of a diverse population which continues to grow as more and more people move here for its natural beauty and community spirit.
The Huon Valley was originally home to the Melukerdee and Lyluequonny people of the South East Nation, who remain the traditional custodians of this land. Neighbouring clans of the South East Nation include the Nuenonne people of Bruny Island and the Muwinina people of Hobart. The Huon Valley’s residents who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is higher than the state average, and sits at 9.3% of the population.
In essence, reconciliation is about deeper understanding, respect and justice for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We are building relationships within the community through education and collaboration with Aboriginal communities to celebrate their history and culture, and acknowledge past wrongs.
You can read more information on reconciliation here: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/reconciliation/what-is-reconciliation/
One way to show respect to Aboriginal cultural protocols is by incorporating Acknowledgement to Country and Welcome to Country into meetings, gatherings and events. If you take the time to Acknowledge Country or include a Welcome to Country at an event, it reminds us that every day we live, work and dream on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands.
Welcome to Country
Welcome to Country can only be delivered by Traditional Owners and Custodians who have been given permission from Traditional owners that they can welcome visitors to their Country.
If you would like to have a Traditional Owner deliver a Welcome to Country at a specific event, check with the organisations listed below what the appropriate protocols are for your area and who they advise can deliver this.
Welcome to Country happens at the beginning of a formal event and can take many forms, including singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies and/or a speech.
Acknowledgement of Country
An Acknowledgment of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and their continuing connection to Country. An Acknowledgement of Country can be offered by anyone and is giving at the beginning of a meeting, speech or event. If you are unsure what to say, SETAC has the following Acknowledgement specific to the Huon Valley which you can follow:
Specific Huon Valley Acknowledgement of Country
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, the Melukerdee People of the South East Nation and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
More Acknowledgement to Country examples can be found here: https://setac.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Acknowledgement-of-Country.pdf
It is important that you are sincere and understand the reasons behind delivering an Acknowledgement.
More information on Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement to Country can be found here: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/acknowledgement-of-country-and-welcome-to-country/
We have a number of Aboriginal organisations in the Huon Valley (in alphabetical order):
- Ballawinne Aboriginal Corporation (BAC)
Ballawinne is a not-for-profit community organisation that aims to build community. Their focus is on small-scale grassroots initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of their community.
- South East Tasmania Aboriginal Corporation (SETAC)
SETAC seeks to improve the health, wellbeing and connectedness of the aboriginal and wider community by delivering a range of services including primary health care.
- wayraparattee Child and Family Centre
wayraparattee Child and Family Centre aims to improve the health and wellbeing, education and care of their very young children by supporting parents and enhancing accessibility of services in the local community.
- Weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation (wAC)
wAC is a community-controlled organisation that owns the Murrayfield property. wAC aspires to protect areas of cultural, spiritual and historical significance; conduct activities that promote greater knowledge and understanding of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and; promote a sense of community by providing opportunities for Tasmanian Aboriginal people to come together to practise and celebrate their culture.
We have produced several videos with our Aboriginal community:
NAIDOC week opening
NAIDOC Week Opening 2021 – YouTube
Being part of an Aboriginal Family
Huon Beings Being part of an Aboriginal Family – YouTube
Indigenous Fire Practitioner, Jason Smith shares his experiences of traditional burning with the Huon Valley community.
Auntie Sheryl talks… series