How to best state Acknowledgement of Country
Why is an Acknowledgement important?
Extract from commonground.org:
An Acknowledgement of Country is a way to acknowledge and pay respect to First Nations peoples as the Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians of the land.
Acknowledgements are often made at the start of an event – such as a meeting, speech or formal occasion. An acknowledgement can be made by anybody - First Nations or non-Indigenous. An Acknowledgement of Country will often highlight the unique position of First Nations people in the context of culture and history, and their intimate relationship with the land.
There are many ways to make an Acknowledgement of Country. It can be spoken, written, or signed (Auslan - sign language). The words can vary and people are encouraged to do an Acknowledgement in a way that is personal and specific to place.
It’s easy to copy an already scripted Acknowledgement, but it’s more meaningful to write one in your voice.
The AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia shows the names of Traditional Owners and the territory in which they occupied (which has never been ceded).
You can use this map to determine the name of Traditional Owners in which you are located and therefore use this to tailor your own acknowledgement.
Have an Acknowledgment Checklist
The checklist should include the below points.
Name and acknowledge the specific Country/Nation/language group.
Identify the Traditional Custodians and their continued connection to their land/s.
Thank the Traditional Custodians for caring for Country for thousands of generations.
Make your Acknowledgement specific to place: are you on desert Country? Are you on an island? Are there any sacred sites with traditional names you can mention?
Pay respect to the Elders and Ancestors of the Country you are on, and also to any First Nations people present/listening.
Recognise that First Nations sovereignty was never ceded. This continent always was and always will be Aboriginal land.
'I begin today by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we <gather/meet> today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.'
'We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, past, present and emerging, whose land we stand upon today.'
'I begin today by acknowledging the <insert name of people here (e.g. Ngunnawal)> people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we <gather/meet> today, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.'
'I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and waters upon which we work, live, and sustain ourselves in the Brisbane region – the Turrbal and Yaggera tribes.’
Webinar/video conference standard acknowledgment:
'In the spirit of Reconciliation, <the organisation or person> acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.'
Statements for inclusion:
‘I fully support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution.'
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