Australian Welcome-to-Country: Sacred Traditions Invented Yesterday

Australian Welcome-to-Country: Sacred Traditions Invented Yesterday. By Keith Windschuttle.

Wherever Labor governments have gained power in recent decades they have made it compulsory for every government instrumentality, and many independent organisations they fund, to begin every public meeting with a cere­monial acknowledgement of something very ancient and certainly not progressive: the welcome to country of Aboriginal traditional landowners.

This ritual is now so ubiquitous it is virtually inescapable, from the opening of writers’ festivals, to art exhibitions, academic conferences, school assemblies and functions at the ABC, indeed anywhere those in the public sector gather. Since 2006, the standing orders of the New South Wales Parliament require each sitting day to open with the incantation:

We acknowledge the traditional owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We also acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands we represent and thank them for their custodianship of country.

The ritual is now performed far more frequently than singing the national anthem or raising of the Australian flag. It was surreptitiously introduced by academic and government bureaucracies without any public debate, let alone public support, and its authors have never been named or their purposes justified. …

Wikipedia, where the entry is mostly written by commentators who brook no opposition, claims the welcome to country is “thousands of years” old. The site nonetheless has only been able to trace any evidence for the ceremony back to 1973. This was its appearance at an Aquarius Festival at the hippie centre of Nimbin, northern New South Wales. That sounds right — the dope-addicted, tertiary-educated, white bohemians of Nimbin would find it no trouble to invent an Aboriginal ceremony to complement their psychedelic fantasies, and to claim it as an inheritance of millennia. …

Disrespectfully acknowledging the wrong genetic lineage anyway, what a joke:

In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd opened the forty-second Australian Parliament by hosting a welcoming ceremony by the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Ngunnawal people. I have been to plenty of functions in Canberra that staged welcome-to-country ceremonies and/or acknowledgements of traditional owners. In all cases where names were given, the Ngunnawal people were credited as the true landowners. …

However, in 2001 Ann Jackson-Nakano wrote The Kamberri: A History of Aboriginal Families in the ACT and Surrounds. It is a scholarly work, a 200-page monograph published by the journal Aboriginal History, and the fruit of a huge amount of research. Jackson-Nakano argues persuasively that Tindale got it wrong, as did the local sources on which he relied.

She discovered that modern usage of the name Ngunnawal did not come from Aboriginal tradition but from a park in the town of Bowning, near Yass, named by white people as Ngunnawal Park. A sign bearing that name was erected at the park in the 1960s, dedicated to Aboriginal people of the Yass district who the townspeople thought had died out in 1848. Some locals who identified as Aboriginal subsequently saw the sign and adopted it as their username. …

Obey our virtue signalling:

If Australian leftists want to continue inventing Aboriginal traditions, they obviously need to lift the quality of their research. In fact, we would all be better off if they gave away the whole tawdry game. Most of the white dignitaries who speak these rites are merely going through the motions and, as Bess Price says, genuine Aborigines don’t recognise them as part of their own traditions. No one can seriously claim they contribute to inter-racial respect or reconciliation.

The truth is, the welcome to country is a demeaning ritual, embraced by urban Aboriginal activists and their white supporters for the same reasons Hobsbawm attributes to the authoritarians and social engineers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: to mould the behaviour of their subjects to the preferred political position through “liturgical sophistication and zeal and a conscious manipulation of symbols”.

Worship the approved victims, whilst paying up for good government jobs for the anointed. Sigh.