Ernie Dingo claims the first welcome
Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley have emerged as the modern-day creators of the controversial ‘welcome to country’ ceremony, after visiting troupes of Pacific dancers forced their hand during a visit to Western Australia in the mid-1970s.
Dr Walley believes it was the first time anything similar had been done. The practice was then adopted in the Northern Territory after the Australian Tourism Commission asked one of Dr Walley’s dancing partners to perform the welcome in Alice Springs in the mid-1980s.
Dingo agreed the incident in Perth was the starting point for traditional owners performing welcomes, and the subsequent development of politicians and visitors acknowledging events held on Aboriginal land.
Both Dingo and Dr Walley agreed the welcome to country ceremony should not be mandatory, or it would lose all meaning.
Source: The Australian