We acknowledge that our three churches stand on the lands of the Arakwal people, who are part of the indigenous Bundjalung nation. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which our churches are located and where we conduct our mission as a Christian community. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past and present.
The following information is extracted from the Indigenous Culture page on the Byron Shire web site:
The Bundjalung Nation encompasses all of the Far North Coast Region and extends from the Clarence River in the south to the Logan River in the north, and to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in the west. Bundjalung is a name derived from a clan name of this diverse group related by language and culture.
The Bundjalung people are comprised of many clans or tribes with distinct countries or tribal custodial areas. These people were never a nation politically pre European settlement, but shared a commonality through languages and culture in the Northern Rivers Region. Each tribal group post colonisation maintained distinct tribal identities.
The Bundjalung people across the Northern Rivers region are represented by a Council of Elders comprising respected Elders from the different clans of the Bundjalung language group. The Council of Elders is an important consultative group for local Aboriginal people and is recognised as such by the wider community and government bodies.
Protection and preservation of culturally significant areas and the environment is very important to the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal people and wider Bundjalung people. The landscape around the Byron Shire has many culturally significant areas that are inter-related. These include the lands and waters, plants and animals, special places and stories. The Bundjalung people in the Shire have a focus on caring for country through bush regeneration, working on and managing national parks, and educating visitors and residents on respectful behaviour and protocols. There are culturally significant programs through many of the Shire’s schools that are growing in strength. ‘Welcome to Country’ is performed at many events held in the Shire.
In the words of the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People…
Our Aboriginal culture gives us a sense of belonging to the land, the sea and to each other. It links the past, present and future and is expressed through our stories, art and songs, our dance and ceremony, and the way we understand and respect Country. Much has been handed down from our ancestors over a long time and we work to keep this valuable knowledge and connection to Country alive. Maintaining our cultural traditions and looking after Country is important for our identity and well-being, and shows respect to our ancestors.
Further information can be attained at the Arakwal People of Byron Bay website.