Australian Catholic University has a strong commitment to Reconciliation and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition, as well as having a long standing respect for the traditional custodians of the countries where ACU campuses are located.
It is customary that the traditional custodians are recognized for the caring of the country that ACU conducts their business by an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of proceedings.
Welcome to Country generally occur at significant events and are given by a local Elder who is a Traditional Owner. A Welcome to Country is a ceremony that is delivered or in some instances performed by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples to welcome visitors to their traditional land. It can take many forms, depending on the particular culture of the traditional owners, and can include singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech in traditional language.
An Acknowledgment of Country can be informal or formal and used at meetings or small events and where possible is delivered by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. If this is not possible the speaker or meeting coordinator can commence the meeting by offering an Acknowledgement of Country. An Acknowledgement of Country demonstrates an awareness of and respect for the traditional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held, and recognises the long and continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country.
ACU has a protocol that an Acknowledgement of Country becomes part of the opening of every senior staff meeting. It is also encouraged for all meetings and gathering on all ACU campuses.
Below are links to ‘Acknowledgements of Country’ protocols – they allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australian Catholic staff and visitors options to correctly acknowledge the traditional custodians for the appropriate reasons.