Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country are important practices in Australia that formally pay respect to the original custodians of the land.
Welcome to Country
A Welcome to Country ceremony – which may be a short spoken statement or something more involved with traditional singing, dancing or smoke ceremonies – is performed by an Aboriginal Elder, Traditional Owner or custodian to welcome visitors to their traditional country. It is an ancient practice dating back many thousands of years.
Acknowledgement of Country
Acknowledgement of Country is where hosts of an event such as a meeting, conference or gathering acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which the event is being held. While the Acknowledgement of Country, which can be delivered by a non-Aboriginal person, can be formal or informal, the South Australian Government has developed a formal Acknowledgement in consultation with Aboriginal people and representative bodies.
The words of this Acknowledgement are:
(Kaurna words for 'Hello, how are you?')
Statement of Acknowledgement (Kaurna – Adelaide)
We acknowledge this land that we meet on today is the traditional lands for Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal people visiting/attending from other areas of South Australia/Australia present here.
Protocol for use
The Statement of Acknowledgement is to be read aloud at the commencement of gatherings held within the Adelaide region.
Statement of Acknowledgement (Outside of Adelaide)
For meetings held outside the Kaurna area, it is recommended to use the Native Title Vision and identify the name of the traditional owner group with cultural responsibilities for the area you will visit.
Traditional Owners from across South Australia have provided the Department of State Development, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation with their preferred wording for a Statement of Acknowledgement on their country. This wording is available in the Resources link below. In areas where Native Title claims overlap or no Native Title claim has been lodged, it is recommended that the following General Statement of Acknowledgement is used:
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are present today.
Protocol for use
The relevant Statement of Acknowledgement is provided for use as appropriate at events and gatherings.
Kaurna Welcome to Country Register
The Adelaide City Council maintains a contact list of Kaurna people and groups approved by the Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association to conduct Welcome to Country, cultural performances and workshops.
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