- Uproar at Aboriginal sign being renamed MICHAEL INMAN 11/04/2009 10:39:00 AM A stoush has erupted between two indigenous groups over the traditional ownershipMessage 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2009View Source
Uproar at Aboriginal sign being renamed
11/04/2009 10:39:00 AM
A stoush has erupted between two indigenous groups over the traditional ownership of Canberra .
The Ngunnawal people are currently recognised as the traditional custodians of the land, but the title is contested by the Ngambri people.
The standing disagreement took a dramatic turn earlier this week when ''Welcome to Canberra '' signs were illegally changed.Five signs at entry points to the territory were altered from Ngunnawal Country and replaced with Ngambri Country some time between the weekend and Wednesday morning.
The professional-looking Ngambri stickers were placed over the top of Ngunnawal to convincingly change the greeting.
The switch was noticed on Wednesday and the Department of Territory and Municipal Services moved quickly to restore the original message.
The United Ngunnawal Elders Council reacted angrily to the switch, with chairman Glenda Hyde expressing disappointment at the defacing of the Ngunnawal name and damage to property.''They have affronted our identity and our culture, and showed great disrespect for the Ngunnawal people, the ACT Government and the community of Canberra ,'' Ms Hyde said.
''Prior to 2005 there was no existence of Ngambri people, there is no truth or historical records for Ngambri this is a made up group.
''[The] offenders should be prosecuted and this matter bought to the attention of the police. ''I appeal to the public that if anyone has witnessed this occurring, either earlier this week or last weekend, please do not hesitate to contact the police.''ACT TAMS Minister Jon Stanhope echoed the plea, labelling the change as vandalism.
''Roads ACT will monitor the signs closely and if defaced again they will move swiftly to ensure they are restored,'' he said.Anyone with information about the vandalism should contact Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.While the Ngambri have not claimed responsibility for the switch, the substitution appears to be their most recent statement made in a long running campaign for recognition.
ACT signs fixed after land rights stoush
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says Roads ACT has restored five "Welcome to Canberra " signs that were altered in a stoush over Indigenous traditional ownership of the area.
The official signs read "Welcome to Canberra - Ngunnawal Country", but they were changed to read "Welcome to Canberra- Ngambri Country."
The United Ngunnawal Elders Council has condemned the switch, labelling it "disrespectful".
A spokeswoman for Mr Stanhope says Roads ACT will monitor the signs closely and act swiftly if they are defaced again.