First Nation peoples honoured at national car rally

THE First Nation Traditional Owners of Bundaberg region were honoured by the Veteran Car Club of Australia (VCCA) at the official opening of the National Veteran Vehicle Rally at Bargara Cultural Centre on Monday

17 September.

Traditional Owner / Elder Aunty Cheri Yingaa Yavu-Kama-Harathunian delivered a Welcome to Country to the large crowd, many of whom were dressed to suit their historic vehicles. Aunty Cheri told the crowd: “Art is generally static, but these vehicles are art in motion, and it’s dynamic.”

Aunty Cheri is a Director of Aboriginal-controlled health and wellbeing organisation IWC, which offers services to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and works to deliver Reconciliation in Action every day.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey was at the opening of the huge community event – one of the largest gatherings of veteran vehicles in Queensland, each one being more than 100 years old.

“To be invited to by the VCCA deliver the Welcome to Country was such an honour,” said Aunty Cheri, who is of the Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng and Kabi Kabi peoples. “It is such a privilege for our city to host such a prestigious national event. Everyone should enjoy the events they are bringing to us over the next few days.

Aunty Cheri said: “In my Welcome to Country, I looked back to the past and welcomed the future, and it was received with such grace – it was very humbling for me.

“Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country has been conducted across Australia since time began. Colonisation did not wipe it out. Where I grew up, these cultural protocols, were usually done away from the limelight, away from the public eye.

“Today, I am asked frequently to provide a Welcome at events of all kinds, which is an important step towards Reconciliation in our communities. It is appropriate that our community honours the past and our Traditional Owners and Elders, while looking to a positive future that builds the bonds of respect and understanding around the World Views of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.

“My Welcome to Country has been taught to me by my clan and family group and other Elders, and by community members with whom I have had the privilege of working with or living among.

“Other First Nations Peoples will have a different ‘lived experience’ to mine and their knowledge and wisdom about what they know, and how they do Acknowledgment or Welcome to Country may be similar, or maybe not. However, there will be cultural nuances known only to a specific group because with the Aboriginal environment our cultures are diverse and complex.”

The National Veteran Vehicle Rally continues in Bundaberg region runs until September 23 with a range of events:

  • September 19, 2019 from 6pm-8pm – Gas Light Parade, Bourbong St, Bundaberg. See the vehicles driving with gas lights.

  • September 21, 2019 from 1pm–7:30pm – Family fun day, 16 Murdochs Rd, Moore Park Beach.

  • September 22, 2019 from 10am-3pm – Picnic with the Cars, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, Bundaberg

  • September 22, 2019 from 3pm-6pm – Outside the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, Bourbong St, Bundaberg

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