Acknowledgment to Country

In Australia there are over 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, each with their own language, cultural law systems and way of life. 
Before colonisation in Australia there were cultural protocols to Welcome someone onto your Country and this was an integral part of first nations society. 

Today the traditional welcome to country has been adapted to show respect to all first nations people and the land. 

Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement to Country 

Welcome to Country

A welcome to Country can be conducted by a traditional owner on the lands that the meeting or ceremony is taking place. 
The traditional owner will welcome you to their sacred lands, waters and sky. 

Acknowledgement to Country 

An acknowledgment to country can be conducted by someone who is not a traditional owner on the lands that the meeting or ceremony is taking place. 
The person will acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, waters and sky. 

How to conduct an Acknowledgement to Country 

There are two ways in which you may choose to conduct an acknowledgement to country. 

  • I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging
  • I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, the (people) of the (nation) and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. 

How to find the name of the nation you are on

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) developed the Map of Indigenous Australia as a visual guide to identifying traditional lands in Australia. 

You can use this map to identify the traditional owners of land you are on;

https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/map-indigenous-australia

Why conducting an Acknowledgment is important 

When conducting any meeting or gathering of people in Australia, it is important to pay your respects and acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the traditional owners. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have long experienced exclusion from the Australian society. By conducting an acknowledgement you are showing your respect and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the sovereign owners of this land.