12 July 2018

BMD commits to strengthening Indigenous heritage through traditional scarred tree ceremony

The BMD Group is proud to commit to strengthening Indigenous cultural heritage through a Continuous Culture project involving a traditional scarred tree ceremony which will occur in Yarrambat, north of Melbourne.

The Continuous Culture project is a collaboration between the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council and Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and was announced as part of BMD’s NAIDOC Week celebrations which occurred on Thursday 12 July. 

Set to take place in September, the scarred tree ceremony will see Wurundjeri Elder Bill Nicholson work with VACCA participants to teach them about the importance of scarred trees, and traditional markers of the Wurundjeri people.

Antony Damiani, General Manager Southern Region said the confirmation of the scarred tree ceremony demonstrates the company’s commitment to reconciliation.

“BMD released our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2017 and have been working to contribute to reconciliation in Australia by building strong relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians,” Mr Damiani said.

Paul Dall’Oglio, General Manager Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania said the launch of our RAP builds on BMD’s reputation of establishing relationships and supporting the communities in which we operate.

“At BMD, we believe Indigenous Australians have extraordinary contributions to make to our business, and we are committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Mr Dall’Oglio said.

“By celebrating culturally significant events such as NAIDOC Week, and by committing to strengthening Indigenous cultural heritage through the scarred tree ceremony, we are taking responsibility for our role in promoting change,” he said.

The Continuous Culture project celebrates connection to culture by teaching and sharing stories and skills to carve shields into trees. The stories shared by Wurundjeri Elder Bill Nicholson will build on the VACCA participants’ connection to Wurundjeri country.

Scarred trees are trees that have been scarred by Indigenous peoples through the deliberate removal of bark or wood. There are numerous reasons why Indigenous peoples took bark from trees including for the construction of shelters, watercraft and containers.

Upon completion of the project, a plaque will be displayed to commemorate the past, present and future connection and remind everyone of their responsibility to care for country.

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