Policy Directory

Guidelines AND Protocols for Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of People and Country and Aboriginal Cultural Performances

Date approved:

21 May 2013

Date Guidelines will take effect:

21 May 2013

Date of Next Review:

May 2015

Approved by:

Vice Chancellor

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Manager, Woolyungah Indigenous Centre

Author:

Director, EED

Responsible Faculty/
Division & Unit:

Woolyungah Indigenous Centre

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this Guideline:

Appendix 1: Examples of Acknowledgement of Country
Appendix 2: Request for Welcome to Country
Appendix 3: Request for Acknowledgement of People and Country, Cultural Performances, Speeches and Lectures

Appendix 4: Expression of Interest
Appendix 5: Guide to fee payment

References & Legislation:

Guidelines for the Use of the Digital Acknowledgment of Dharawal Country
Reconciliation Statement
Inclusive Language Guidelines

Audience:

Public – accessible to anyone

Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.

Contents

1 Introduction / Background

  • 1. The University campuses are located on Aboriginal Land and it is important that staff and students understand the significance of observing protocols in recognising the Traditional Owners of the Land at university events and ceremonies.
  • 2. Observing agreed cultural protocols demonstrates the respect that the university and its staff and students have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • 3. Regions and Aboriginal Country are not always clearly defined and acknowledging one people over another may unintentionally exclude some people. Therefore, the following is a guide if speakers wish to specifically acknowledge the people and land of particular Aboriginal communities on which the event is taking place:
    • 3.1. Wollongong campus and iC: Wadi Wadi People, Dharawal Country,
    • 3.2. Loftus: Wadi Wadi People, Dharawal Country,
    • 3.3. Shoalhaven (Nowra): Wandi Wandian People, Yuin Country,
    • 3.4. Moss Vale: Wadi Wadi People, Gundungurra and Dharawal Country,
    • 3.5. Batemans Bay: Walbanga, Djiringanj and Katungal Peoples, Yuin Country,
    • 3.6. Bega: Djiringanj, Thaua, Bidawahal, Ngarigo and Katungul Peoples, Yuin and Monaro Country,
    • 3.7. Sydney: Gadigal People, Eora Country

2 Scope / Purpose

  • 1. Woolyungah Indigenous Centre and the Director, EED, are frequently consulted on the protocols of Welcomes and Acknowledgements to Country and how to engage the Aboriginal community in university events. These Guidelines and Protocols will provide some instruction for staff and students and will establish a more consistent approach for engaging Aboriginal Elders in the events of the university.
  • 2. These Guidelines and Protocols:
    • 2.1. Apply to all Australian campuses
    • 2.2. Will help to eliminate ambiguity about what is appropriate and acceptable in recognising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    • 2.3. Provide guidance for arranging Aboriginal cultural ceremonies as part of university events.
    • 2.4. Outline the events suitable for Welcomes and Acknowledgements
    • 2.5. Provide guidance for payment to guests officiating at ceremonies and events
    • 2.6. Include an expression of interest form (Appendix 4: Expression of Interest) for local Aboriginal Elders and cultural groups to offer their services to the university.

3 Definitions

Word/Term

Definition (with examples if required)

Acknowledgement of People and Country

An Acknowledgement of People and Country is a statement of recognition of the traditional owners of the land. An Acknowledgement of Country can be given by any person – Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

Welcome to Country

A Welcome to Country is a formal welcome onto Aboriginal Land given by an Elder or person of that land.

The Welcome to Country should be the first item on the order of proceedings for the event and may comprise a single speech given by an Elder with or without an accompanying performance, such as playing of the Didgeridoo.

4 Welcome to Country

  • 1. A Welcome to Country can only be performed by a traditional custodian from that particular Country where the event is being held. This is usually a recognised Elder from the local community. The Elder welcomes people to their land. A Welcome to Country usually consists of a speech and may also include traditional language, singing, dancing or Didgeridoo playing.
  • 2. In general, university events where there are invited members of the public and/or dignitaries may include a Welcome to Country.
  • 3. Events where it would be desirable for a Welcome to Country to be performed by an Aboriginal Elder from the local community of that particular campus include:
        • a. Opening of new buildings
        • b. University Awards Nights
        • c. Community Engagement events
        • d. Welcome to Wollongong
  • 4. When it is not possible to arrange a Welcome to Country at such events, an Acknowledgement of Country is the minimum requirement.

    Note: Section 5.3 and 5.4 if you are officiating at an event where an Elder is giving a Welcome to Country

    See Section 9 for the process of organising a Welcome to Country.

5 Acknowledgement of People and Country

  • 1. An Acknowledgement is a way that all people can demonstrate respect for Aboriginal protocols and can be performed by anyone who is not a traditional custodian from the Country of the land on which the event is being held. It is a respectful public acknowledgment of the traditional custodians of the land. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people can perform an Acknowledgement on its own, in response to a Welcome or to a preceding Acknowledgement.
  • 2. It is appropriate for the host of the ceremony to make the Acknowledgement unless a person has been specifically asked to perform this.
  • 3. If you are officiating at a ceremony or event, it is respectful to ask the Elder how he/she would prefer to be addressed. Do not assume that “Uncle” or “Aunty” is his or her preferred title.
  • 4. If you are at an official event and you are the speaker directly following an Elder performing a Welcome to Country, it is appropriate to make a brief Acknowledgement. This shows your respect for the Elder and is acceptable practice. See examples in Appendix 1.
  • 5. Events where an Acknowledgement of Country should be considered include:
        • a. All Graduation Ceremonies
        • b. Significant public lectures
        • c. Official openings of Careers Fairs/nights
        • d. Large student events
        • e. Orientation
        • f. Student life events
        • g. IN2Uni
        • h. Mature aged orientation
        • i. Student prize nights
        • j. Whole of staff significant events
        • k. Launch of new initiatives
        • l. The first meeting of the year for high level official university committees such as Council, Senate, EED Committee and similar events
        • m. Special events as determined by staff managing events

6 Cultural Performances

  • 1. Dancers, singers, artists and musicians may also be engaged for particular events. Most commonly when there are invited guests to the University, staff and student engagements and celebrations, and significant Aboriginal days of recognition such as NAIDOC Week or Reconciliation Week.

7 Sensitivity around Indigenous Cultural Protocols

  • 1. Some Indigenous cultural ceremonies and protocols are sensitive and may not be discussed or shared with the broader community.
  • 2. It is important that the nature of the event and the expected proceedings are discussed with the Indigenous representative prior to the event taking place.

8 Examples of Acknowledgement of Country

  • 1. Examples of appropriate wording for Acknowledgement of Country can be found in Appendix 1.

9 Arranging a Welcome or Acknowledgement

  • 1. Woolyungah Indigenous Centre has responsibility for liaising with the appropriate Elders in the community to engage them for official Welcomes. They will also liaise with cultural groups for performances.

10 Intellectual Property and Fees for Service

  • 1. In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances and ceremonies, Aboriginal people are using their intellectual property. Appropriate remuneration should be discussed and arranged prior to the event.
  • 2. Payment can be arranged through the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre.

11 Roles & Responsibilities

  • 1. Woolyungah Indigenous Centre will establish and maintain the register of expressions of interest from local Elders and cultural groups who wish to be connected with the University for the purposes of conducting a Welcome to Country. The register will also serve as a record of who has been engaged in various events throughout each year.

12 Expressions of interest – Local Elders

  • 1. Woolyungah Indigenous Centre will work with local Elders, cultural groups and artists to complete the Expression of Interest form (Appendix 4: Expression of Interest). This will be renewed every 2-3 years.

13 Version Control Table

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By

Amendment

1

21 May 2013

Vice-Principal (Administration)

First Version.

Appendix 1: Examples of Acknowledgement of Country

  • 1. When you are very sure of the name of the people of the land you are acknowledging:
    • 1.1. Longer – in place of a Welcome
        • At the Wollongong Campus

          Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet; the Wadi Wadi people of Dharawal Country It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Wollongong is built.

          As we share our own knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within this university may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

          For other campuses refer to section 1.3 of the Guidelines

          I would like to respectfully Acknowledge the ______________ people who are the Traditional Custodians and First People of the land on which we meet/stand. I would like to pay my respects to the Elders past and present and I would like to extend my respect to the Aboriginal people/colleagues/staff and students/ who are present today.

    • 1.2. Brief – following a Welcome or an Acknowledgement

          Depending on your role in the event you may like to thank the Elder for their Welcome and then:

          I would also like to pay my respects to the ____________ people and Elders past and present.

    • 1.3. When you are unsure of the Traditional Owners of the Land

          If you are visiting another campus and you are unsure of the name of the Traditional owners of the Land on which you are meeting it is more respectful to perform a less specific Acknowledgement:

          I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners/custodians of the land on which we meet today. I would like to pay my respects to the Elders past and present and I would like to extend my respect to the Aboriginal people/colleagues/staff and students/ who are present today.

          Or

          Before I commence I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place and all lands upon which the University is located, and pay my respects to the Elders past, present and future for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Indigenous Australia.

  • 2. Other examples:
    • 2.1. Example 1:

          I would like to show my respect and acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, elders past and present, on which this meeting takes place.

      2.2. Example 2:

          Thank you ____ (name the Elder, using title of Aunty or Uncle if that is what they would normally be addressed as.) I would also like to acknowledge the past and present traditional owners of this land on which we meet today.

    • 2.3. Example 3:

          I would like to acknowledge the _________________ people who are the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay my respects to elders past and present of the ________________ nation, and I extend that respect to other Indigenous people who are present.

Appendix 2: Request for Welcome to Country

Image

1. Contact details:

Name:

 

Position/title:

 

Contact details:

Phone:

 

Email:

 

Faculty/Division:

 

2. Nature of Request:

Please tick all boxes that apply:

Requested duration:

Welcome to Country

   

3. Event details:

Date:

 

Time:

 

Duration:

 

Location:

 

Audience (number and content):

 

Dress requirements:

 

4. Payment:

Account number:

         

-

       

Name of delegated authority:

 

Signature of delegated authority:

 

Appendix 3: Request for Acknowledgement of People and Country, Cultural Performances, Speeches and Lectures

Image

1. Contact details:

Name:

 

Position/title:

 

Contact details:

Phone:

 

Email:

 

Faculty/Division:

 

2. Nature of Request:

Please tick all boxes that apply:

Requested duration:

Acknowledgement of Country

   

Cultural performance (e.g. Didjeridoo playing)

   

Speech

   

Guest lecture

   

3. Event details:

Date:

 

Time:

 

Duration:

 

Location:

 

Audience (number and content):

 

Dress requirements:

 

4. Payment:

Account number:

         

-

       

Name of delegated authority:

 

Signature of delegated authority:

 

Appendix 4: Expression of Interest

The University of Wollongong has a guideline and protocol for the provision of Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of Country and services at ceremonies and events.

We would like to invite you to join our contact list to be involved in University ceremonies and events. Your contribution to, Welcomes and Acknowledgements to Country and artistic or cultural performances would be greatly valued.

Name:

 

Title (e.g. Aunty, Uncle, Mr, Mrs etc.):

 

Nation:

 

Contact No.:

 

Address:

 
 
 
 
 

Choice of involvement (please tick all that apply):

Welcome to Country

 

Acknowledgement

 

Artistic or cultural performance (please specify below):

 
 
 

Additional information (please give details of any special needs egg. transport, dietary needs, parking, access, mobility, on-stage seating):

 
 
 
 
 

Appendix 5: Guide to Fee Payment

      1. Welcome to Country $150 - $200

      2. Didgeridoo $300 - $400 (subject to individual performer rates)

      3. Dancers - $400 - $500 (subject to individual, groups and level of profession)

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