Country’ is an Aboriginal English term that has special significance for Indigenous people. It speaks to the special connection and love that Indigenous people feel for their traditional lands. People speak about Country with such warmth and affection as though they are speaking of family members.
They speak of feeling sorry for Country or of ‘growing up’ Country. People get their identity from Country because the land and the individual are as one.
You will often hear Aboriginal peoples speak of being either saltwater, river or desert peoples. Even the so-called ‘homeless’ people of Darwin refer to themselves as Long-grass or Tall-grass people. In truth, Aboriginal peoples are never homeless, for everyone belongs to the land.
Not surprisingly there are important cultural protocols relating to Country. Of these, the two most important ones are the Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.
The Welcome can only be given by a Traditional Owner on whose land an event is held. An Acknowledgement, on the other hand, can be given by anyone regardless of whether or not they are Indigenous. It is a way of showing respect to the local Indigenous people and an act of reconciliation. Evolve’s ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ Card provides you with a guide to the right words to say for this important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocol.