Welcome to Country / Acknowledgement of Country

There are two distinct cultural protocols:

  • Welcome to Country - can only be made by an Aboriginal Traditional Owner of the country or land upon which the welcome is made. It is a statement of welcome.
  • Acknowledgement of Country - can be made by someone (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) who is not a Traditional Owner of the country or land upon which the statement is made. It is a statement of recognition.

Welcome to Country

The Welcome to Country is also known as a 'Traditional Welcome'. It enables Traditional Owners to give their blessing to an event and welcome people to their land. Only a representative for the traditional clan of the location at which the function is being held can provide a Welcome to Country. This person is usually an Elder.

The Welcome to Country always occurs at the start of an event, preferably as the first item. Such events include but are not limited to:

  • conferences
  • seminars
  • ceremonies
  • festivals
  • launches and other special events held by or on behalf of the University or for which the University is a sponsor
  • University meetings
  • graduation ceremonies.

Acknowledgement of Country

This is a symbolic reconciliation gesture that recognises and pays respect to Traditional Owners of the land on which the statement is made. It can be offered by Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal people who are not Traditional Owners of the land upon which the statement is made.

As a mark of respect, an Acknowledge of Country is made at formal occasions such as those listed above. An example of an appropriate Acknowledgement of Country is provided below:

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which this event is taking place, the [name of clan or group] people and pay my respect to their Elders, past and present.

Wherever possible, the Aboriginal Education Centre will consult with local Aboriginal communities on the best form of recognition for each event.

Traditional Owners

The Traditional Owners of the land where our campuses and centres are located can be found under Indigenous matters.