Consent Ceremony

12 06 2009

Now that it is starting to become clear who the elders are, we can finally observe protocol. We now have another chance to seek “the consent of the natives.” 

A Consent Ceremony will finally ask for that consent, and recognize the traditional owners properly. It will observe protocol. It will mean we can finally say that consent was asked and received. It will be prophetic – because there will remain much to do, but it will speak of the necessary respect and recognition required to go forward. 

The families have not yet made their plans for such a ceremony, so this is simply an example – something Cedric and I have spoken of. The final Ceremony may be quite different to this.  

Imagine this:

A ceremony near the South Perth Mill

  • Nyoongar people recognize Elders as bona-fide representatives of the traditional owners
  • Elders give commitments to uphold qualities, and lead in ways that are good, & wholesome for all 
  • Elders welcome all attending, (and to who will offer the same respect in future via the symbol.) Elders invite all who wish, to ask consent. 
  • All who wish, to ask consent. The Governor must participate in this. 
    (Repeat line-by-line) something like:

–   State name
–   State reason for living on this land (eg. Resident, work, interest.)
–   “We are here to right the wrong done by colonial commissioned officers, who failed in their duty to ask for the “the consent of the native people” to settle here.
–   We apologize for the failures of our people, for disregarding your people, and all the painful episodes this did set in motion.
–   Today we respectfully ask your forgiveness.
–   Today we respectfully ask for your consent & blessing, for us to live on this land. We commit ourselves to seek to bless you and your lands.” 

  • Governor plants a tree. (Foundation Day was commemorated by chopping down a tree, as the land was wrongfully “claimed” in breach of their Commission. Environmental disaster has followed. Planting a tree would be a highly significant statement for the future!)
  • Church representatives approach the elders,
    Repeat: “we wish to remove the curses we have caused your people & your land.” 
    Lay hands towards the elders – “we now place the blessings of our people on you and your land.” 
  • Elders rise: accept the apology, & welcome the people to live on the land with their blessing. 
  • Elders also confess the destructive reactions, lift their curses, and give their blessings
  • Reconciliation dance: Aboriginal dance group dances the reconciliation dance, and invites a non-Aboriginal dance group to join them. Dance the reconciliation / mutual blessing dance together.  
  • Eat together: Bread, made with bush-ingredients, ground by the South Perth Mill
    (George Shenton first made bread here, but explicitly refused to give it to aboriginal people. Now we grind healthier bush food, a symbol of mutual improvement, & give to all.) 

Since it was the commissioned representatives of the Monarch who breached the commission, including Governor Stirling, it seems only fitting that the Governor as the commissioned officer of the Crown, should finally redress the injustice – to finally ask consent.

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3 responses

12 06 2009
Recognize the Owners Properly « Whadjuk Sovereign Lands

[…] together we are planning a Consent Ceremony to redress this: to ask consent, and for the rightful Aboriginal Owners of this land to give […]

12 06 2009
More Owners to come « Whadjuk Sovereign Lands

[…] the time the Consent Ceremony comes around, SWALSC may not have identified all of the descendants of aboriginal land owners in […]

9 07 2010
Breach of Commission « Whadjuk.info

[…] we go any further, we need to redo our foundations: Identify the elders, ask forgiveness, and ask consent to be here. And plant trees from now […]

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