Traditionally, when Aboriginal people travelled beyond their own nation, they would be welcomed by the Traditional Owners of that land before entering. Welcoming people to Country is still a very significant Aboriginal traditional practice and is performed at the commencement of any gathering by a local Aboriginal person (or group) of that area. This could be an Elder, an adult or a child who belongs to that Country.
An Acknowledgment of Country can be performed by Aboriginal people from other nations and also by non-Aboriginal people, both children and adults. Like the Welcome, an Acknowledgement is also performed at the commencement of a gathering, but can also be shared by any individual person before they begin their contribution to the meeting, function or gathering.
Below are two examples of what someone could say when addressing any formal or informal gathering. Use these examples as a guide to develop a meaningful Welcome or Acknowledgment relevant to the particular audience and environment.
As a representative of the ___________ people of this land that we meet on today, I would like to Welcome you to our Country and pay respect to our Elders who have gone before us and those who are present here today.
I would like to acknowledge the ___________ people, the Traditional Custodians of this land. I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present of the ___________ nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people here today.
For the Great Lakes community, the word ‘Worimi’ would replace the vacant lines in these examples.
By Welcoming others to Country or sharing an Acknowledgement of Country, you are actively demonstrating your recognition and respect for Aboriginal culture, history and heritage.