Acknowledgement of and Welcome to Country

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Acknowledgement of Country

Anyone can deliver an Acknowledgement of Country. As it is a personal as well as an organisational statement, it is acceptable to use your own words.

If using your own words, it is essential that you mention the Traditional Custodians of the land where you deliver your Acknowledgement of Country. For example, when in Lake Macquarie, you should mention the Awabakal People, however it may also be appropriate to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of neighbouring Countries.

It is also essential that you pay respect to Aboriginal people of today as well Elders past, present and future.

When elsewhere, you should mention the respective Traditional Custodians of that land if known. For example:

"I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are meeting today, the ___________ People (only if known), and acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who now reside in this area. I extend that respect to Elders – past and present – and future cultural knowledge holders."

Welcome to Country

A Welcome to Country is when a respected Aboriginal Elder or Traditional Custodian of that area welcome people to their land before the start of a meeting, event or ceremony. It is a significant sign of respect toward Australia's First People.

The Welcome to Country can include a verbal recital together with cultural performances and ceremony.

An appropriate person - such as a recognised Elder from the local area - conducts this welcome. Aboriginal organisations such as Local Aboriginal Land Councils may be contacted to recommend a suitable Elder from the area to conduct a Welcome to Country.

Fee for service

As in Western culture, specialised knowledge is not something that is generally given away.

Aboriginal people have conserved and passed down Aboriginal cultural knowledge to generations for thousands of years.

Aboriginal people who choose to recite a Welcome to Country, perform a traditional song and/or dance, play the didgeridoo, give a speech, supply artwork - among other things - are entitled to be paid for their time and knowledge.