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What is Welcome to Country and how is it applied?
caption: Dr. Alita Rigney conducts "Welcome to Country" at Apology 2015 Recognising the Survivors Breakfast.

A Welcome to Country is where a Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander traditional owner, custodian or Elder welcomes people to their land. Protocols for welcoming visitors to Country have been part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years.

Welcome to Country always occurs at the opening of an event and is usually the first item on the program. The local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander custodian or traditional owner conducts the ceremony and this may be done through a speech, song, ceremony or a combination of these things. It is important for the traditional owners to be comfortable with the arrangements. Organisers need to spend time talking with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people to identify the traditional owners and explaining to them the type of public event which is being organised and how best to prepare for this. Organisers are advised to also seek advice on who should perform the Welcome to Country, according to cultural protocols and advice from local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people from that Country.

Welcome to Kaurna Country
Ninna Marni  (A Kaurna word for "hello, how are you?")
for use in Adelaide Metro area, South Australia 

Statement of Acknowledgement:
We would like to Acknowledge that the land we meet on today is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

protocol for use

The Statement of Acknowledgement is to be read out at the commencement of gatherings held within the Adelaide region.

source: Government of South Australia
Click here to download this statement, if you wish to use it.

Welcome to Country
(for use outside of Kaurna Country, SA)
We acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians whose ancestral lands we are meeting upon here today. We acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal peoples to Country. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal peoples visiting / attending from other areas of South Australia / Australia present here.

protocol for use
The above Welcome to Country wording is provided for use / adaptation as appropriate for events and gatherings that take place outside the metropolitan area. This statement does not preclude direct naming and acknowledgement of traditional owners where this is specifically known.

source: Government of South Australia

What is "Acknowledgement of Country?"

An Acknowledgement of Country is a way of showing respect and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held, and of recognising the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country. It is a demonstration of respect dedicated to the traditional custodians of the land or sea where the gathering of participants is being conducted. Government agencies and community organisations are adopting the practice of acknowledging the traditional custodians of country at events, ceremonies, meetings and functions.

click here to learn more about Acknowledgement of Country.

Additional Resources and References:

Government of Western Australia: Protocols for Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Ownership

Circular on Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country, Catholic Education, South Australia