WRITING A MEANINGFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity to acknowledge and pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. An Acknowledgement of Country can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Read more about the Acknowledgements of Country and their difference from a Welcome to Country here.
Acknowledgements of Country typically read something like:
“I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today. I pay my respects to Elders past and present”.
There are no set protocols or wording for an Acknowledgement of Country and therefore you are welcome to adapt the wording to it. Therefore, an Acknowledgement can be what you want it to be. You can invest more thought and effort into making an Acknowledgement more personalised and relevant to your context.
Note: although unlikely, if your local Elder has a preferred wording for Acknowledgements of Country, please respect and follow their direction.
Be specific: name the Country you are on. To learn what Country you're on, visit our FAQ page for guidance.
Be considerate: research the Country you are on so you know who and what you are acknowledging.
Be creative: adapt an Acknowledgement to your context.
Be confident: speak with purpose and breathe.
Rush: an Acknowledgement of Country is not housekeeping - treat it with the respect it deserves.
Speak in past tense: avoid "was" and "were", we are still here.
Use inappropriate terminology: avoid terms slurs and derogatory terms such as "Aborigines" or abbreviations such as "ATSI".
Allude to intentions: speak strong in the moment - "I acknowledge" as opposed to "I would like to acknowledge".
For example, if you work in the health sector, you might say:
“I pay my respects to the people of Kuku Yalanji Country on whose land we work on and meet today. I pay my respects to Kuku Yalanji Elders past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold knowledge about health practice and medical treatment which has been practiced for thousands of generations”.
For example, if you work in the education sector you might say:
“I acknowledge and pay respects to Yawuru peoples, Elders and Country whose land we come together to learn, share and grow. I also acknowledge that the people of this land maintain and share knowledge through an oral tradition that has been practiced for generations”.