The Bega Valley Shire Council acknowledges that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants, custodians and Native Title Holders of all land and water in the Bega Valley Shire, their continued connection with it is respected. For further information on the traditional owners of the Shire please click on this link to the History of the Shire.
On Census night, 9 August 2011, Bega Valley Shire’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was counted as 905 people, of whom 874 were Aboriginal and 17 were Torres Strait Islanders, 14 identified as both. Bega Valley’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population made up 2.8 per cent of its residents. Across NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.5 per cent of the population.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Council works in partnership with the Eden, Bega and Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the native title holders of the Shire. The MOU provides the primary framework for Council’s work with Aboriginal communities.
The current MOU was adopted by Council on 7 August 2019. The MOU is on display in the foyer outside the Council Chambers and can be viewed here – Memorandum of Understanding
The Council, as part of the MOU has established a protocol to enable Council to recognise the Traditional Custodians of the Shire at Civic events and functions. The protocol aims to seek endorsement from local Aboriginal communities for major Civic events occurring on Aboriginal land and to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in Civic events and functions. The protocol also ensures that ‘Welcome to Country’ is included in Council activities in an appropriate and respectful way.
The following wording was adopted as part of the MOU. Council urges other organisations and individuals to acknowledge the traditional owners of the shire.
Response to Welcome to Country
Thank the elder for their welcome and recite the following:
‘I would like to acknowledge on behalf of …………………….., the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of the Shire – the people of the Yuin and Monaro nations and show our respect to elders past and present.’
Acknowledgment of the Traditional Owners of the Bega Valley Shire
When no Welcome to Country has been given recite:
‘I would like to commence by acknowledging on behalf of ………….., the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of the Shire – the people of the Yuin and Monaro nations and show our respect to elders past and present.
Members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) are elected representatives for Aboriginal people. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (http://www.alc.org.au/) is the peak body for 119 LALCs in NSW. There are three LALCs in the Bega Valley Shire:Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council
The boundaries for the three LALCs in the Bega Valley Shire can be accessed on the NSW Aboriginal Land Council website
The Bega Valley Shire Council is committed to working in partnership with local Aboriginal communities within the Bega Valley. The purpose of this document is to provide Council staff with an understanding of the important protocols when working with, consulting with and acknowledging local Aboriginal communities. The Aboriginal Protocols and Guidelines can be viewed here.
NAIDOC stands for - National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s, which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. NAIDOC Week is held annually in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.
Understanding Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: A place based collection of oral histories told by Koori people with traditional and historical connections to the Bega Valley Shire.
The Bega Valley Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Study is a four-stage project involving a partnership between Aboriginal community members and government agencies with responsibilities for managing the Bega region. The project aims to develop a better understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage in the Bega Valley Shire and to develop better ways to manage this heritage and protect its values in the local planning processes.
Read the study: Stage Three A: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Study, 2010