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Pass back, move forward: Traditional custodians honoured

The NRL’s 2020 Indigenous Round will adopt the theme "Pass Back. Move Forward." to highlight the importance of understanding and appreciating Indigenous history and culture in order to build a better future.

The focus of Round 12 will be encouraging fans to learn about the traditional custodians of the land where they live, and in support of this, all stadiums hosting Indigenous Round matches will include an acknowledgement to local First Nations people as part of their stadium name.

In addition, the draw on NRL.com will acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where each club and venue is based.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys AM said the concept of the "Pass Back. Move Forward." campaign was an important reminder to all Australians of the need to understand history, in order to move to a more positive future.

"This round and this campaign reminds us all of the need for better awareness of Australia’s history to ensure a fairer future for all," he said.

"Thanks to Commissioner Megan Davis, I have spent time listening to a delegation of our Indigenous players.  In fact, I was very disappointed with myself for not being aware of the difficulties and challenges they endured. 

"I now have a much better understanding of their issues and I was greatly inspired by their passion and commitment in having a voice for their community.  I now hope for the greater community to have awareness of their history and culture.  We all have a role to play in educating ourselves about the past so that we may embrace a more inclusive future together."

Indigenous stars raise their voice

Professor Davis said rugby league has been an integral part of Indigenous history and had played an important role in promoting reconciliation, social mobility and inclusion.

"Indigenous Round is the opportunity for rugby league to use its collective voice and raise matters of importance to First Nations people," Professor Davis said.

"By adopting the theme of Pass Back. Move Forward. we aim to encourage people to increase their awareness and appreciation of Indigenous history so that together, we recognise and challenge racism."

Teams and venues will be referred to by the names of the traditional custodians of that land; for example the SCG will be acknowledged as the home of the Gadigal people and Suncorp as the home of the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples.

Similarly, all clubs will acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which they are based.

For example, the Knights are based in the home of the Awabakal people, the Cowboys in the home of the Wulgurukaba people and the Eels in the home of the Burramattagal people.

The more than 60 current Indigenous NRL players have also nominated with which First Nations people they identify from the AIATSIS map of Australia.

The Wiradjuri nation in central NSW is supplying a host of NRL talent including Blake Ferguson, Kotoni Staggs, Adam Elliott and Jack Wighton.

The Bundjalung nation - a coastal region on the NSW-Queensland border - is also heavily represented through the likes of Ryan James, James Roberts, Cody Walker, Wade Graham, Brian Kelly, Tyrone Roberts and Corey Thompson.

The lists were compiled through consultation with clubs, venues, players, local councils, local Aboriginal land councils and local community groups.

Where traditional custodians have been unclear, the NRL said it had acknowledged the identified groups.

"The NRL believe that education on the complexities of traditional ownership is an important part of our past and encourage all Australians to continue these discussions," the NRL said in a statement.

Indigenous Round

Venues

Match Venue Nation naming
Dragons v Rabbitohs Netstrata Jubilee Stadium Netstrata Jubilee Stadium - Home of the Bidjigal/Bediagal peoples
Tigers v Warriors  Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney Cricket Ground - 
Home of the Gadigal people
Broncos v Sharks Suncorp Stadium Suncorp Stadium - Home of the Yuggera & Turrbal peoples
Roosters v Titans Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney Cricket Ground - 
Home of the Gadigal people
Cowboys v Raiders Queensland Country Bank Stadium Queensland Country Bank Stadium - 
Home of the Wulgurukaba peoples
Sea Eagles v Panthers Lottoland  Lottoland - Home of the Gayamaygal & Garigal peoples
Bulldogs v Eels  ANZ Stadium ANZ Stadium - Home of the Burramattagal & Wangal peoples
Storm v Knights Sunshine Coast Stadium Sunshine Coast Stadium - 
Home of the Kabi Kabi people

 NRL clubs

Club Nation
Sydney Roosters Gadigal people
Canberra Raiders Ngunnawal people
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Bidjigal/Bediagal people
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Gweagal people
Gold Coast Titans Yugembah people
Manly Sea Eagles Gayamaygal & Garigal peoples
Melbourne Storm Wurundjeri people
Newcastle Knights Awabakal people
North Queensland Cowboys Wulgurukaba people
Parramatta Eels Burramattagal people
Penrith Panthers Darug people
South Sydney Rabbitohs Gadigal people
St George Illawarra Dragons Dharawal & Yuin nations
New Zealand Warriors Aotearoa
Wests Tigers Dharawal & Eora nations
Brisbane Broncos Yuggera and Turrbal peop

Players

Broncos: Jack Bird (Yuin), David Fifita (Badu Island), Kotoni Staggs (Wiradjuri); 
Bulldogs: Adam Elliott (Wiradjuri), Tyrone Harding (Murrawarri), Chris Smith (Lurijta Arrente), Reimis Smith (Wiradjuri & Bundjalung), Isaiah Tass (Yuibera); 
Cowboys: Reuben Cotter (Boigu Island), Scott Drinkwater (Wiradjuri), Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Saibai Island);
Dragons: Tyrell Fuimaono (Wiradjuri), Josh Kerr (Quandamooka), Jason Saab (Anaiwan), Tristan Sailor (Erub (Darnley) Island), Jayden Sullivan (Yuin);
Eels: Blake Ferguson (Wiradjuri), Jai Field (Wiradjuri), Will Smith (Gumbaingirr &
Wonnarua);
Knights: Edrick Lee (Badu & Moa Islands), Gehamat Shibasaki (Boigu & Murray Islands), Tyronne Roberts-Davis (Bundjalung), Connor Watson (Gamilaroi); 
Panthers: Daine Laurie (Bundjalung & Yaegl), Brayden McGrady (Gamilaroi), Glenn McGrady (Gamilaroi), Brent Naden (Wiradjuri);
Rabbitohs: Braidon Burns (Gamilaroi & Wiradjuri), Josh Cook (Bidjigal & Yuin), Troy Dargan (Gumbaynggir), Dane Gagai (Yam & Badu Islands), Alex Johnston (Saibai Island), Latrell Mitchell (Biripi), James Roberts (Bundjalung), Cody Walker (Bundjalung & Yuin);
Raiders: Sebastian Kris, Jack Wighton (Wiradjuri);
Roosters: N/A;
Sea Eagles: Jade Anderson (Wiradjuri), Cade Cust, Reed Izzard, Zac Saddler (Wiradjuri), Joel Thompson (Ngiyaampa);
Sharks: Andrew Fifita (Wiradjuri), Wade Graham (Bundjalung), William Kennedy (Gamilaroi), Jesse Ramien (Wiradjuri), Braydon Trindall (Gamilaroi); 
Storm: Josh Addo-Carr (Wiradjuri), Jack Bowyer (Guugu Yimithirr & Olkola), Nicho Hynes (Wiradjuri), Brenko Lee (Argun/Badu);
Tigers: N/A;
Titans: Ryan James (Bundjalung), Brian Kelly (Bundjalung), Tyrone Peachey (Wiradjuri), Jonus Pearson (Hammond Island), Nathan Peats (Biripi), Tyrone Roberts (Bundjalung), Treymain Spry (Badu Island), Corey Thompson (Bundjalung), Ash Taylor (Munanjali & Yuwalaraay);
Warriors: Josh Curran (Darug), Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (Kaurna & Narungga)