A ‘WELCOME to Yorta Yorta Country’ sign recently erected on the Hume Freeway near Chiltern will be pulled down following concerns raised by Bpangerang advocates.
The Bpangerang people, led by Elder Freddie Dowling, have been in a long-running fight with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council for the Bpangerang to be recognised under Victorian law as a ‘registered Aboriginal party’ (RAP) in their own country.
When Linda Simpson, a passionate supporter of the Bpangerang, heard about the new sign she immediately contacted the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins’ office to raise concerns about the possible impact the sign would have on the Bpangerang people and in particular Elder Uncle Freddie Dowling.
“Uncle Freddie is nearing 80 (November) and becoming increasingly frail carrying the weight of responsibility for the loss of his beloved people’s recognition,” Ms Simpson wrote.
“He barely sleeps with worry, guilt, anger and fear that he will not live to see a resolution.”
She described the sign as a “devastating blow” coming just a week after the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs sent out a media release encouraging traditional owners to apply for the new Traditional Owner Status (TOS) recognition.