Welcome to Country

I am curious to know why Council officials and others open speeches on KI with 'Welcome to Country' platitudes.

Recently Mark Koolmatrie (Chairperson of the 'Tribal Owners of the Coorong'), speaking at the Country Cabinet event on KI, acknowledged the Ramindjeri peoples. I question the reasoning behind this, since their clan, as part of the Ngarrindjeri peoples, historically were situated between Goolwa and Cape Jervis.

I know these ackowledgments of First Nations are relevant on the mainland of Australia, but would like to open the debate about uninhabited offshore islands (when Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin came to KI in 1802, there were no signs of man having been there, since the kangaroos and seals had no fear of these seamen).

Over many years, archaeologists have sought to find out when the last human habitation occurred on KI. Theories range from 2,000 to 10,000 years, when the seas rose, cutting off the island from the mainland. Ancient aboriginal artifacts found on KI (usually at digs) are from the Pleistocene era. The Ngarrindjeri people looked across the passage from Cape Jervis and declared the island was the 'land of the dead' (Muldawali leads the spirits of the deceased across). The Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains referred to KI as 'Karta' , a place where the spirits reside. When speaking of First Nations, how about acknowledging the earliest pioneers (this should include the indigenous women brought here by early sealers and whalers from Tasmania and the Fleurieu) to this island, as there are plenty of living descendnts of these battlers who might like their ancestors to be acknowledged at official events!

Bronwyn Foster, Kingscote