Acknowledgement of country

Arranging a Welcome to Country ceremony and acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land shows respect for Aboriginal people as Australia's First Peoples. Ceremonies and protocols are a fundamental part of Aboriginal culture. These processes increase the understanding and mutual respect for cultural practices by both Aboriginal Australians and the wider community.

We promote a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture through the use of Aboriginal protocols for formal and informal meetings, public meetings and ceremonies, and encourage other organisations and entities to recognise Aboriginal Custodianship of Country and acknowledge the significance of Aboriginal culture.

What is a Welcome to Country?

A Welcome to Country is where the Traditional Aboriginal Custodians (in most cases the Elders) welcome people to their land. This is a significant recognition and is made through a formal process. A Welcome to Country should always occur in the opening ceremony of the event in question, preferably as the first item.

What is Acknowledgement of Country?

Acknowledgement of Country is a way that the wider community can demonstrate respect for Aboriginal protocol, and can be performed by any party participating in an occasion of any kind. It can be performed by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, and is a demonstration of respect dedicated to the traditional custodians of the land and or sea where the gathering is taking place.

Acknowledging Traditional Custodians in the Clarence Valley

I acknowledge the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl peoples (begin with country on which you are standing), the traditional custodians of these lands on which this (Meeting / Event / Gathering) is taking place and pay tribute and respect to the Elders both past and present of the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl (begin with country on which you are standing) nations which lie within the Clarence Valley boundary.

First Nations Clarence Valley map
Generally accepted boundaries of Bundjalung, Gumbaynngirr & Yaegl nations are: 
  • Bundjalung: North side of the Clarence River from Southgate. (i.e. Grafton)
  • Gumbaynngirr: South side of the Clarence River from Swan Creek (i.e. South Grafton)
  • Yaegl: Coastal - Black Rock (Evans Head) to Red Rock, inland to Swan Creek