Indigenous people rejoice in emotional ceremony

THE Dja Dja Wurrung people celebrated their landmark native title settlement with an emotional ceremony on Friday.

Local, state and federal government came together with members of the Dja Dja Wurrung community to mark the settlement which recognised Indigenous people as traditional owners of the land.

Dja Dja Wurrung man Joshua Berick said the recognition was important because it meant he would remain connected to his ancestors.

"For me it gives me a greater sense of belonging," he said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jeanette Powell said she was moved by the ceremony.
"The Dja Dja Wurrung people spoke of how proud they were and how hard they had fought for this recognition," she said.

The celebrations started at midday with a traditional smoking ceremony, which involved the Dja Dja Wurrung people inviting neighbouring Aboriginal clans and attendees to cleanse themselves with smoke.

Neighbouring Wadawurrung clan Bonnie Chew said smoking ceremonies only occurred on important occasions.

"The smoking ceremony cleanses negative energy and invites ancestors to come and watch over us," she said.

"It is a huge deal this is happening today.

"This settlement will pave the way for other clans to be acknowledged as the traditional land owners.

This settlement will pave the way for other clans to be acknowledged as the traditional land owners.

"We have still not been legally recognised."

Attorney General Robert Clark said the ceremony was of historic significance.
"It is an honour to be a part of this," he said.

"This settlement ensures a positive financial future for the Dja Dja Wurrung people."
The landmark native title settlement includes about 266,500 hectares of Crown Land in central Victoria.

The settlement achieves full and final resolution of native title claims to approximately 266,532 hectares of Crown land – about three per cent of all Crown land in Victoria.

The agreement area extends from north of the Great Dividing Range near Daylesford and includes part or all of the catchments of the Richardson, Avon, Avoca, Loddon and Campaspe Rivers. It includes Crown land in the City of Greater Bendigo, Lake Boort and part of Lake Buloke.

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