An Acknowledgement of Country is a great way for someone to show their respect to the Indigenous people of the country where they live and work. With increased employee flexibility and the ability to take part in virtual meetings from anywhere in the world, it’s vital to incorporate this protocol to raise cultural awareness and make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples feel welcome in all areas.
You can use the examples of acknowledgements below at the start of a formal event, meeting, or speech—or when attending online and face-to-face events. Knowing how to do a meaningful Acknowledgement of Country will also help when publishing and distributing online resources with this information.
Online Webinars and Meetings
If you know who the traditional owners are for the country in which you’re hosting a virtual meeting, you can begin by saying:
- “I recognise that I’m hosting this webinar or Zoom meeting from the country of the [add traditional owners name].”
- “I also recognise the traditional owners of the countries where you all work today and the First Nations people present in this webinar or meeting.”
- “I pay my respect to all elders, past and present, and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and their cultures and connections to the land and waters of New South Wales.”
If you don’t know who the traditional owners are for the country in which you’re hosting a webinar or meeting–although you should always research what Indigenous land you are on–you can start the session by saying:
- “I recognise the traditional owners of the different lands we work on today and the Indigenous people present in this webinar or meeting.”
- “I pay my respect to all elders, past and present, and acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of Indigenous people and their cultures and connections to the country and waters of New South Wales.”
Online Resources and Documents
Inclusive and respectful acknowledgement of land can be included in any e-published resources or tools that are distributed to a large audience. Examples of the type of messages to include in online materials are:
- “We at [add the organisation name] recognise the traditional owners of the country where we live and work. We recognise and celebrate the diversity of Indigenous people and their enduring cultures and connections to the land and waters of New South Wales.”
- “We pay our respects to elders, past and present, and recognise the Indigenous people that contribute immensely to the development of this resource or tool.”
- “We advise that this online resource might contain names, voices, and images of deceased Indigenous individuals in audio recordings, photographs, historical content, and film.”
For an online class, below is an idea for an Acknowledgement of Country you can use and customise:
“I’d like to start by acknowledging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the lands we’re on today. Even though we are meeting on a digital platform, I wish to take this opportunity to recognise the importance of the lands we call home. We do this to show our continued commitment and responsibility to improve our knowledge of local First Nations people, their cultures, and their relationships with various groups. From coast to coast, we recognise the unceded and ancestral territory of all the Indigenous people who call this country their home. Please join me in a moment of reflection to recognise the mistakes and harms of the past and to think about how we can each, in our own way, move forward in the spirit of collaboration and reconciliation.”
Where to Add an Acknowledgement of Country on Online Resources
Incorporating an Acknowledgement of Country into other aspects of your online presence is another way of building a stronger, more inclusive business environment.
Individual web pages, footers, and the contact section are all great places to include an Acknowledgement of Country. The footer is arguably the best location for this, because it appears on every web page. The home page is also an excellent location for an Acknowledgement of Country, but the design of the web page will determine which area is most effective.
If your organisation has a social media presence, it’s also a great idea to put Acknowledgements on these platforms. Most social media networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, have an ‘About’ section where you can place an Acknowledgement of Country; you can also place it on your Google ‘My Business’ page.
An Acknowledgement of Country should be an integral part of all virtual meetings and gatherings, including webinars and online classes, taking place on Indigenous land. Depending on where your participants live and work, you can recognise all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or research the Indigenous people in the area you work and live.