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Aboriginal community

Group at NAIDOC 2019

The City acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which the City stands, the Nyoongar people, and pays respects to their elders both past and present.

The continued connection to country and invaluable contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have helped to shape the City into what it is today.

Nyoongar country is made up of 14 clan groups with seven dialectic groups. The City of Rockingham borders the lands of the Whadjuk and Binjareb Nyoongar people.

The word Nyoongar means "a person of the south-west of Western Australia". Nyoongar is identified as a single language, but there are several ways of pronouncing it, which is reflected in the different ways to spell the word.

The City of Rockingham is also completely encompassed by the Gnaala Karla Booja Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) area of the South West Native Title Settlement SWNTS). The settlement has not yet been finalised.

Reconciliation Action Plan

We were among the first local government authorities to establish a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), with the first plan endorsed by Council in 2011, and the second in 2014.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal document which provides a way forward and acknowledges the gap in the health and wellbeing between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other Australians. Group photo at RAP consultation meeting

The City’s vision for reconciliation is to help build a community that welcomes diversity and celebrates difference, focusing on three aspects:

  • building relationships
  • fostering respect
  • developing opportunities.

The RAP empowers us to engage in building relationships in the community, fostering mutual respect and supporting and facilitating opportunities for Aboriginal people.

We are developing our third RAP, which is currently in draft phase. Until this RAP is complete, we will continue to implement the actions set out in the previous RAP 2014 - 2017.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the Reconciliation Action Plan, please contact us on 9528 0333 or email customer@rockingham.wa.gov.au.

Events

National Reconciliation Week Haka and Corroboree performers

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Viewing the Nyoongar Stories Project

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May - 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey: the successful 1967 referendum; and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. 

The 1967 Referendum saw Australians vote overwhelmingly to amend the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth to make laws for Aboriginal people and include them in the census. 

The Mabo decision recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to the land - rights that existed before the British arrived and can still exist today. This was a turning point for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights because it acknowledged their unique connection with the land. It also led to the Australian Parliament passing the Native Title Act in 1993. 

The City celebrated NRW 2019 by launching the Nyoongar Stories Project. Nyoongar Stories is a collection of stories from 10 local Nyoongar people about their lives and connections to the Rockingham area. Copies of the audio compilation are available at the City’s librariesTheresa Walley and Mayor Sammels with portrait

NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held annually across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The 2019 NAIDOC theme was “Voice Treaty Truth." The City hosted a series of events that celebrated local Aboriginal people and culture including workshops and the Rockingham NAIDOC Celebration event.

The 2020 NAIDOC theme is “Always Was. Always Will Be." The 2020 Rockingham NAIDOC Celebration has been cancelled due to the City’s response to COVID-19.

Networks

Rockingham Aboriginal Advisory Group

The Aboriginal Advisory Group (AAG) was established to support the development and implementation of the RAP, while also taking the lead in supporting the City of Rockingham’s walk towards Reconciliation.

The AAG meets bi-monthly and provides valuable input into our decision-making process.

Nominations for the AAG will be sought from Aboriginal people with a commitment to reconciliation and a connection to the City of Rockingham every two years, with a maximum of 10 members appointed.

Rockingham Reconciliation Network 

The Rockingham Reconciliation Network (RRN) is administered by the City and is an opportunity for community members, schools and service providers with an interest in Reconciliation to meet, network and discuss matters regarding the local Aboriginal Community.

The RRN meetings are held quarterly and any interested parties are welcome to join.

For more information or to join the RRN please contact us on 9528 0333 or customer@rockingham.wa.gov.au.

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