The “Welcome to Country” and “Acknowledgement of Country” recognise the unique position of Aboriginal people in Australian culture and history.
Aboriginal people are the Original Custodians of our land. It is important this unique position is recognised and incorporated as part of the official protocol and events to enable the wider community to share in our culture and heritage, assisting better relationships between Aboriginal people, local Aboriginal members and the wider community.
By integrating Aboriginal Acknowledgements and Ceremonies into official events and daily proceedings, community organisations, government agencies, private business/corporations and the wider community can provide opportunities to recognise and pay respect to Aboriginal people’s culture and heritage. They also highlight the importance and promote mutual respect and understanding of the cultural heritage of Aboriginal people and our traditional lands.
What is the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country?
A Welcome to Country is a formal welcome onto Aboriginal Land given by an elder or person of that land. Official events such as open days or official openings should include a Welcome to Country by the appropriate local Aboriginal Elder. You can contact your Local Aboriginal Land Council to find out who the most appropriate person for the Welcome to Country is in your community.
An Acknowledgement of Country involves any person from the general community paying their respects to the traditional custodians of the land. A sample of the wording you may wish to use is given below.
When to give an Acknowledgement of Country
Acknowledgement of country can be incorporated into team meetings, board meetings, training events, interagency meetings, conferences and any other celebratory events. It is also good practice to include an Acknowledgement of Country in your official documents such as the annual report, policies and procedures manual, client information pack and staff induction manual.