• Cootamundra's Wiradjuri Elder, Uncle Bob Glanville. (NITV News)
The Recognise campaign hit the streets of Cootamundra on Monday, and The Point was there to capture the mood of the town.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
The Point
4 Apr 2016 - 3:44 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2016 - 3:44 PM

Today the movement to gain popular support for recognising Australia's First Peoples in the constitution visited the small NSW town of Cootamundra.

Speaking to locals before the Recognise community forum, many people on the street said they would vote 'yes' in a referendum to change the constitution to somehow acknowledge First Peoples.

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Others admitted they hadn't heard about the referendum, and didn't know what the changes would mean. 

The Recognise forum aims to shed light on the ins and outs of a possible referendum question, which is still yet to be decided, and allow community members to ask questions and voice concerns. 

For one man, who has called Cootamundra home his whole life and is now acknowledged as a Wiradjuri Elder, recognition couldn't come soon enough.

Uncle Bob Glanville says there remains strong and confused feelings when it comes to the complex topic. But he is a strong believer that Recognise organised forums can help ease any scepticism. 

"Days like today will help people understand what Recognise is all about. 

"Recognise is all about what happened in the past, and where we will go in the future," he said.

He says the question of recognition has a poignant meaning for Cootamundra locals.

Prior to 1970, the town was home to the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls' Training Home where young girls were sent to train as domestic servants after being taken from their families. 

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Uncle Bob says constitutional recognition would help heal some of the wounds from the town's dark past.

"I went to school with the girls from the Cootamundra Girls' Home, and I seen what they went through."

"And everybody's gotta be on the page of what recognition is about. It's simply about recognising Aboriginal people as people." 

Constitutional recognition continues to be a topic that divides Indigenous communities, with many arguing that a 'yes' vote in a referendum will setback chances of treaty talks. 

A referendum is tentatively set for May, 2017.