Welcome to Country / Acknowledgement of Country
There are two distinct cultural protocols:
- Welcome to Country - can only be made by an Aboriginal Traditional Custodian 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 Custodian 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 Custodians 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:
- 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 Custodians of the land on which the statement is made. It can be offered by Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal people who are not Traditional Custodians 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 Custodians of the land on which this event is taking place, the [name of clan or group] people and pay my respect to Elders, past and present.
For sending correspondence broadly or communicating across various communities - it is recommended to use a general Acknowledgement such as
“Federation University Australia acknowledges the Custodians of the lands and waters where our campuses are located and recognise their continuing responsibilities to care for country at these sites of teaching and learning. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations Peoples. “
Wherever possible, the Aboriginal Education Centre will consult with local Aboriginal communities on the best form of recognition for each event.
The Traditional Custodians of the land where our campuses and centres are located can be found under Indigenous matters.