Protocols for “Welcome to Country” and “Acknowledgement of Country”

Why we do it?

Future Dreaming Australia encourages people to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands that they live, work and play.

This acknowledgement recognises the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people in Australian culture, history, and as the rightful and original owners of their nation states, lands and waters.

It is important this unique position is recognised and incorporated into official protocol to enable the wider community to share in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and facilitate better relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples, and the broader community.

Welcome to Country can only be given by a Traditional Custodian

It signifies the Traditional Custodians inviting you onto their land and granting you safe passage. A Welcome is typically given by an Elder or leader from the Traditional Custodians whose land you are on, however, with permission, other members can give a welcome on their behalf. It’s also sometimes accompanied by a smoking Ceremony to cleanse the energy of those being welcomed.

An Acknowledgment of Country can be said by anyone, Indigenous or non-indigenous

This is because it’s about respecting the Traditional Custodians, their Country and their history. When you acknowledge Country you also acknowledge the Elders of that mob and their Lore, promising to respect them and their land while you’re on it.

What are the words I could use to give acknowledgment?

In opening this [name of meeting] we acknowledge the original people on whose land this meeting takes place and pay our respects to the traditional owners, the [name of the group if known] people.”


We acknowledge the traditional custodians, the [First Nations peoples], and pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of First Nations peoples of Australia. We must always remember that under the concrete and asphalt, the land, sea, and waterways were, and always will be, the traditional lands of the First Nations Peoples.”

Recommended Listening & Viewing

Recommended Reading

Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe

Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe

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The Biggest Estate on Earth – Bill Gammage

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Sand Talk – Tyson Yunkaporta

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Dingo Makes Us Human: Life and Land in an Australian Aboriginal Culture – Deborah Bird Rose

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Story about Feeling – Bill Neidje

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Mary Graham’s Publications and Presentations

See Mary Graham’s Director profile page for presentations and publications by Mary.

Ross William’s Presentations and Projects

See Ross Williams’ Director profile page for presentations and projects by Ross.