Aviation

Perth Airport acknowledges traditional owners with Indigenous place names on boarding gates

Perth Airport has become the first major airport in Australia to acknowledge traditional owners on its boarding gates.

Boarding gates at the Western Australian airport will now show both the commonly used name of the destination, along with the name of the Traditional Custodians of that place.

The initiative has been rolled out across Terminal 1 Domestic, Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

The screens at these terminals will rotate between the commonly used place name and the name of the Traditional Custodians. For example, a flight to Adelaide will be displayed as Adelaide/Kaurna Country, and flights to Newman will be Newman/Nyiyaparli Country.

However, some Indigenous leaders have told ABC News the airport’s labels for their countries are incorrect.

Jennell Reynolds from the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation told the national broadcaster the name used for Esperance was not correct.

“I’m not quite sure how they came about having … the name, Ngadju, when it’s clearly on Wudjari country,” she said.

“Obviously, the genuine meaningful comment they made about acknowledging First Nations people when they didn’t even have the courtesy to come and talk to traditional owner groups was disappointing.

Reynolds said the airport had “missed the mark” in relation to what they were trying to achieve.

Perth Airport’s chief commercial officer, Kate Holsgrove, said the airport had gone through a lengthy process to select the names, using a number of resources such as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies map.

“We very much welcome the discussion and want to make sure we get this right and learn and grow along the way, as well as educate the passengers that we serve,” she told ABC News.

Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown said acknowledging Country and Traditional Custodians is an important part of the airport’s reconciliation action plan.

“Perth Airport sits on the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, which once formed part of their traditional travelling networks,” Brown said.

“Today, we are a part of a modern travelling network – one that takes Western Australians to all corners of the globe and also welcomes people from around the world to our home.

“Our airport is often the first and the last point of connection to the vibrant and unique cultural heritage of our state’s Aboriginal people, so it makes sense to recognise the Traditional Custodians of destinations for departing passengers.

“We also know that international travellers, in particular, are fascinated by Aboriginal culture and want to understand and experience it firsthand.”


Featured image source: Facebook/Perth Airport



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