Recognize the Owners Properly

12 06 2009

Question: How do you recognise Aboriginal traditional ownership of this land?
Answer: Observe the Aboriginal protocol as closely as you can.

Here in Whadjuk sovereign lands 200 years ago that meant you would…

  • ask the elders‘ consent to be here,
  • carry a message stick (or equivalent) from the elders,
  • look after the land properly


This site hopes to enable you to observe such a protocol, or at least get close to it. Would you like to do that? Look around these pages to get the basic info. 

This site also tells a story of Consent:

  • The First British Commissioned officers’ orders were to ask for consent to be here – to make a Treaty
  • These officers failed to ask consent or to make Treaty
  • To date, no consent was ever asked, or given.
  • Some of us dream of a Consent Ceremony to redress this: to ask consent, and for the rightful Aboriginal Owners of this land to give consent
  • We are hoping to develop a way for all residents to observe & respect the right protocol.

Vale my friend

28 06 2018

Today I had the honour of attending the funeral of the Whadjuk elder with whom I had my strongest connection.


His funeral was attended by his many loving family members but also by hundreds from many nations and worldviews. He embodied the ability to discern the bad and embrace the godly in all cultures. This was especially developed in his Christian Aboriginal identity. He could tell what was godly from what was bad in Western culture, and the church, and he considered Christ as the transcendent, unifying reality overcoming walls of separation between people, who can put us in right relationship with God, with each other, with everything else. Shalom.

Shalom, my friend. Shalom.

This effectively pauses my personal quest for a widely accessible protocol for consent to live on Whadjuk land, and for staying tuned in to the elders. We do have an answer – wear the red-yellow-black as a sign of respect for traditional ownership. Our hopes for a Consent Ceremony are also paused, though I remain willing to participate in that work should other Whadjuk representatives take up the task.

BGC Primary School example

9 09 2014

IMG_0993Banksia Grove Catholic Primary School does this recognition perfectly.

In the foyer of the school in a prominent place, is the message stick, with a descriptor of the occasion on which it was given.

And every assembly begins with a very simple, “Nidja Noongar Boodjar Noonook Nyininy, This is Noongar land we are sitting on.”

The words also appear on their letter head.

This is a perfect example of how to respect protocol properly, without being obtrusive or awkward.