Consent Ceremony

12 06 2009

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

A Consent Ceremony would:
– finally ask for that consent, and recognize the traditional owners properly. It would observe their protocol. It
– mean we could finally say that consent was asked and received.
– be prophetic because there will remain much to do, but it would announce the necessary respect and recognition required to move forward together.

The elder 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 well be quite different to this.  


A ceremony near the South Perth Mill (or some place of Nyoongar choosing)

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

–   I, (State name)
–   wish to live on Nyoongar land, to (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 forebears, for disregarding your people, and all the painful episodes this set in motion.
–   Today we humbly ask your forgiveness.
–   And Today we respectfully ask your consent & blessing, for us and our descendants to live here on this land. We also seek to bless you and your lands as best we can.” 

  • 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, saying something like: “we seek to remove the problems we/our forebears have caused your people & your land.” Lay hands towards the elders – “we seek to bless 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 curses, and give blessings.
  • Reconciliation dance: Aboriginal dance group dances a reconciliation dance, and invites a non-Aboriginal dance group to join them. Dance a reconciliation & mutual blessing- 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.



4 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 «

[…] 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 […]

28 06 2018
Vale CJ |

[…] yellow and black as a sign of respect for traditional ownership. It also pauses my work toward a Consent Ceremony. But I remain willing to enter into that work should other Whadjuk representatives so ask of […]

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