Home' Tennant and District Times : 2016-0624 TDT Contents AFTER reading the last week’s Te n -
nant Times (Letters to the Editor,
TDT, 17/6/16), I am compelled to
respond to some letters by anony-
mous writers who appeared to sup-
port the ‘Welcome to Warumungu
Country Highway Signage and Cul-
From the inception I should state unequivo-
cal that I am sceptical of publications where
there appears to be one side of the story with
the other side being silent or inadvertently
not giving its views.
The three letters all applauded the signage
and blasted the ‘protesters’, shaming them
for disrupting a highly noble event of the
Where are the views of those protestors,
were their concerns noted or they were
entirely dismissed with contempt – I tend
Make no mistake to assume that I was one
of the protestors, not at all.
However, my curiosity led me to check
what exactly is in the protocols and I figured
out what may have led to the protests.
This is my opinion and I never consulted
with any of the protestors.
Whilst I agree with the other protocols,
though with some reservations, I strongly
disagree with the last protocol – ‘return to
your own country after your visit’.
What kind of ‘welcome message’ is that?
I think this was a huge mistake and it has
raised more questions to me that answers.
For instance: whose voice is this one?
To elaborate, I understand that there was
a process of consultation and Warumungu
elders were singled out as having been
Okay, I pose a question to the elders: In
Warumungu culture is this protocol that
when one visits he/she is asked to return
after a visit?
When should the person return, what is
the time frame? I know the overcrowding
in Tennant Creek is partly due to family
members visiting from out bush and spend-
ing time in town?
Why are some Aboriginal persons not
reminding their visitors to return to their
For me this is embedded in a culture of
respect, communal living and acknowledge-
ment of family as important.
Therefore, to me this last protocol is not
reflective of Warumungu voice and I wonder
who is trying to break ‘the spirit of com-
I am aware of all the problems of over-
crowding and its problems but would like
this aspect to be addressed with due consid-
eration to Warumungu culture – not bring it
through back door.
Family comes first and some if not most of
the visitors are family and I understand they
will be offended to read these signs – and
the locals will distance themselves from
Further to above, reminding visitors to re-
turn to their country after their visit assumes
that all visitors bring trouble to Warumungu
I stand to be corrected but do believe
there are lots of people in Warumungu who
came as visitors but have developed strong
attachment to this lovely country and now
call it home.
Some of these are great professionals who
work in our schools, clinics, construction,
banks and service industry.
It seems unwise to remind these people to
return back to their country.
I know that one might suggest that the ones
who are reminded to return back are only
those who bring trouble to Warumungu but
the protocol we have here does not specify
that aspect at all.
The idea of welcome to country protocol
is a great idea but the way it is presented in
not well thought in my view.
I understand the consultation stage may
have elapsed but my humble suggestion is
to trim down the protocols and possibly just
have the first one and be positive like:
• Respect our law, culture and tradition.
• Contribute and collaborate in building
• Acknowledge and be kind to one another.
• Enjoy your stay and be a good ambassador
when you leave.
– Chirandu, local resident.
4 TENNANT AND DISTRICT TIMES FRIDAY 24 JUNE 2016
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for sharing your ideas with our readers. Just to clarify, Letters to the Editor reflect the opinions
of the letter writers and are therefore not intended to be balanced journalistic articles. Like those who submitted letters
about the Warumungu Signage Project, those who protested at the launch could have expressed their views through the
Letters to the Editor forum if they wished. The Tennant & District Times invites readers to contribute Letters to the Editor
for publication and so long as they comply with requirements (such as defamation and subjudice laws) we are happy to
print views and opinions from all sectors of the community.
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