6 December 2005

Canberra: Welcome to Ngunnawal, Ngamberri or Wiradjuri Country/Nation?

| Jonathon Reynolds
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I often watch “Message Stick” on the ABC and find some of the topics covered fascinating. Of particular interest was a recent program predominately discussing the Future of the Tent Embassy.

The subject matter itself was interesting however there was a section of narration and a map of the local “Canberra” region shown on screen at the same time as the narration (but unfortunately not reproduced) which has somewhat confused me.

NARRATOR: Matilda and Isabell were both raised on a mission in Cowra, almost 200km away from Canberra. Matilda is a respected elder of the Ngamberri nation which sits inside the Ngunnawal country border. Matilda believes her people have the strongest claim to country, giving them the greatest influence over the future of the tent embassy. But her cousin Isabell disputes the claim, saying the Ngunnawal is a just a small family clan of the Wiradjuri nation where SHE is a respected elder.

So my question is where does Canberra actually sit in realtion to the (Indigenous) Ngunnawal, Ngamberri or Wiradjuri Country/Nations?

UPDATED: JR has now sent in a map:

Indigenous zones around Canberra

*** Note this map is not the image as used on the “Message Stick program, but rather from the link provided by DT

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Gotta be honest – I don’t really give a damn which nation/mob/tribe/people are banging on about previous title and ownership. I’m still not going to thank the native title holders for ‘granting me permission’ to live on their land, work on their land etc etc etc ad nauseum. I’m over it.

My only point of concern (and I’m not really going to lose any sleep over it), is that if it turns out that it is technically Ngamberri or Wiradjuri land and we have to change all the stupid signage it will inevitably be subsidised by the ACT community.

Interesting, I was always taught that Ngunawal country stretched down south to about Cooma and then east across to the Brown Mountain.

And that Gundungurra land went a lot further westwards taking in Yass and whatever else is out there.

Obviously the mountains made a natural barrier on the eastern side.

Being so close to the big house you would think that they might have noticed that public leadership battles don’t strenghten your groups cause or position.

errr…”assumption” that is.

“Typical! If they can’t sort their own crap out, how would they ever be able to run the country? “

Ha! There’s a basic assumtion there that “we” ARE able to sort our own crap out. A pretty long bow to draw that one.

Typical! If they can’t sort their own crap out, how would they ever be able to run the country?

Put simply – there is one native title claim before the Native Title Tribunal for this area being Ngu(n)nawal land.

That wasn’t part of the deal.

Ngunnawal country (Canberra) sits within the lands of the Ngamberri nation. So both mobs can really stake a claim.

I would rather see a thunderdone situation where two may enter and one shall leave…

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