ABORIGINAL tribes have gone to war over a planned Welcome to Country sign at Armidale’s gateways.
The Anaiwan tribe want to be solely recognised in the sign.
But members of the Gumbaynggirr tribe claim the city is also part of their traditional land.
They want wording on the sign to reflect all Aboriginal tribes in the area.
Anaiwan elder Steve Widders said he was passionate about the issue because of his, and his ancestors’, close ties with the city.
“It is known and acknowledged that the Anaiwan are synonymous with Armidale,” Mr Widders said on Monday.
But representative for the Gumbaynggirr people, Hazel Green, said her ancestors also have close ties with the city, with her decedent King Robert being a tribal leader when Europeans first settled in the district.
“It is a very complicated issue,” Ms Green said. “We don’t want to show disrespect to other tribes.”
She would like the sign to acknowledge “various tribes” otherwise she saw no reason to have it at all.
The sign is part of a continuing dispute between the two tribes and came to a head at Monday’s meeting of Armidale Dumaresq Council.
There, councillors were addressed by Mr Widders, Ms Green, as well as Anaiwan representatives Margaret Walford and Rhonda Kitchener. A decision by Armidale councillors about the signage is due in March next year.
The Armidale Local Aboriginal Land Council has also been pulled into the dispute to ensure equity between the tribes. It could hold a community meeting to be chaired by an independent person.
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