By Bev Jordan
Hills Shire Mayor Peter Gangemi won cross party approval for his move to strengthen ties to the indigenous community in the Hills.
At Tuesday night’s Extraordinary Council meeting (January 11th) the first item on the agenda was to include Acknowledgement of Country at council meetings.
“It is a gesture that we can do to show our residents of indigenous descent that Council is reaching out to them for their wisdom and support,” he said.
“In addition to an Acknowledgement of Country before each Council meeting, I believe that Council needs to do more outside of our meetings to further reach out to our indigenous population.”
He has suggested a Council-backed celebration of NAIDOC week in July saying:
“I want this Council to represent the whole community. Conducting an Acknowledgement of the Country at the start of Council meetings is an important step in the process.
However, I believe it is important to have additional measures outside of Council meetings including better displaying our indigenous history, looking at place naming opportunities, conducting an event during NAIDOC week and visiting Muru Mittigar’s Cultural Education Centre at Rouse Hill.”
The motion has also called for the indigenous history of the area to be displayed more prominently in the community and on the council’s website.
“Remains of both open camps and cave dwellings have been discovered in the Hills Shire, with charcoal drawings, shellfish middens, animal bones and stone flakes being discovered in caves,” he said.
“The rock dwellings found in the Darling Mills Creek area of West Pennant Hills date back almost 12,000 years.
“I believe that the history of the Darug people is an amazing one and should be better known in the Shire.“
The Mayoral Minute and motion was unanimously approved:
- at the earliest council meeting possible a proposed updated Code of
- Meeting Practice is tabled (containing an Acknowledgement of Country) and placed on a public exhibition for 28 days.
- Council continue to conduct an Acknowledgement of Country prior to Citizenship Ceremonies and Major Events
- Councillors accept an invitation to visit Indigenous members of the community at Muru Mittigar’s Cultural Education Centre at Rose Hill.
- Council conducts an appropriate inperson event for The Hills community to attend to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during NAIDOC week.
- Council investigate options to better display the indigenous history of the Shire in key locations such as the Council website, Libraries and key parks.
- Council investigate indigenous place naming opportunities of a proposed park or newly built park in The Hills, with a report to be brought back to Council of potential options for Councillors to consider.