WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Collier

WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Collier

The Western Australian Government is replacing the word ‘Indigenous’ with the word ‘Aboriginal’. The State Opposition has said this is an expense waste of time. But others do not think so.

The Department of Indigenous Affairs will now be known as the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Minister for Affairs Affairs, Peter Collier said it was self-evident there was a strong preference among Aboriginal peoples for the use of the word Aboriginal.

“Even though it may seem semantics and may be in terms of the challenges that face Aboriginal people, to Aboriginal people it was very significant,” he said to ABC online.

“So the change reflects the will of Aboriginal people across Western Australia and I’m delighted we have made that change.”

State Labor parliamentarian and Yamatju Ben Wyatt said Aboriginal peoples have more pressing issues than to worry about whether they are referred to as “Indigenous” or as “Aboriginal.”

“As I go around WA no one demands that the department has its name changed,” he said to ABC online.

“We talk about health, we talk about education and the Minister, the best he can come up with is to change the name of the department,” said Mr Wyatt.

Mr Wyatt is correct that there are more pressing issues on the landscape for Aboriginal peoples and these are forever neglected or moved along in piecemeal ways. Mr Collier is correct that most Aboriginal peoples prefer to be referred to as Aboriginal than as Indigenous. He is also correct that the change from Indigenous to Aboriginal will cost next to nothing.