The move was the result of more than a year of petitioning by Gomeroi woman, Rachael McPhail. Ms McPhail told ABC Radio, "For every town, for every place in this country, we have an original name, and it's important to use them as a celebration and to recognise the history and the connection of First People to country."
She said the next step is to compile a comprehensive database of all traditional place names, so people can easily work out where to send their mail.
The campaign launch and commentary during NAIDOC Week highlighted what a meaningful outcome this was for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
School captains from St Kevin’s Primary School Cardiff penned a letter to Ms McPhail and proudly included the traditional place name on the address label.
Pope Francis’ Laudato si' reminds us, “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.”
Inclusion of traditional Aboriginal place names on mail is not a ‘tick-box’ or abstract concept. Like Pope Francis writes, this care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions indicates to all Australians that to care for land is to care for Aboriginal people and show respect for their harmony with Creation.
Yaama gayrr ngaye Emme Porter from Gamilaraay, from Walgett dhi and Moree dhi. Yamma my name is Cristiano Multari and I am a Gomeroi boy from Moree.
We believe that naming the Nations where letters and packages are being mailed to is a great idea. This will not only educate people about Aboriginal culture, it will help more people understand what land they are on and to respect the peoples of the land.
One of the main issues may be that people do not know the names of the Nation their mail is going to. By creating a list of towns and Nations will help everyone as some towns may acknowledge two nations.
We also believe that new streets and estates should use Aboriginal language and entrances to towns and suburbs should have a Welcome to or Acknowledgement of Country.
Including an Aboriginal perspective is important because it recognises and shows respect to the land and the people from that Nation who have taken care of it for over 50,000 years.
Thank you for voicing this.
Emme Porter and Cristiano Multari, St Kevin’s Cardiff