What is an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners?
An Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners, sometimes called an Acknowledgement of Country, can be done by anyone. It is a way of showing awareness of, and respect for, the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held.
An Acknowledgement is different to a Welcome to Country. Find out more and understand which is appropriate.
When is an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners appropriate?
An Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners should be given at formal events, forums and functions such as Government and Local Government meetings, conferences, school assemblies, concerts, board meetings, and official openings.
The first speaker at an event (following a Welcome or in the absence of a Welcome) should give the Acknowledgment of Traditional Owners.
Subsequent speakers may also give an Acknowledgement.
Example wording for an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners
In an area where the Victorian Government has formally recognised the Traditional Owners
If the Victorian Government has formally recognised the Traditional Owners for the area where your event is taking place, you should specifically acknowledge those Traditional Owners. An example of such an acknowledgement is provided below:
Our meeting/conference/workshop is being held on the lands of the [Traditional Owner's name] people and I wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Owners.
I would also like to pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.
In an area where the Traditional Owners have not been formally recognised
If the Traditional Owners have not been formally recognised for the land on which your event is taking place, you should acknowledge Traditional Owners generally, without making a reference to the name of any specific Traditional Owners. An example of such an acknowledgement is provided below:
I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and the Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.
Currently there are no Formally Recognised Traditional Owner groups for approximately 37.5 % of Victoria. In these areas the Victorian Government provides processes and support for Traditional Owner groups to negotiate agreements and progress towards formal recognition. A general, rather than specific, acknowledgement respects the further work required in these areas.
Are the names of Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporations the names of the Traditional Owner groups?
All Formally Recognised Traditional Owners are represented by Traditional Owner corporations. There are currently 11 Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporations covering approximately 75% of the State.
It is the Traditional Owners who should be acknowledged, rather than the corporation representing the Traditional Owners.
In some cases Formally Recognised Traditional Owners have incorporated their name into that of their corporation. Other corporations use names that do not include the name of the Traditional Owners they represent.
Once you find the name of the Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporation on the map, cross check it with the table below to find the Traditional Owner name.
Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporations and Traditional Owner names
|Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporation
|Traditional Owner name for Acknowledgements
|Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
|Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk Nations
|Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
|Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
|Dja Dja Wurrung people
|Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation
|Eastern Maar People
|First Peoples of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal Corporation
|First Peoples of the Millewa-Mallee, being Latji Latji and Ngintait Traditional Owners
|Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
|Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
|Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation
|Waddawurrung Aboriginal Corporation
|Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
|Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
|Yorta Yorta People
Acknowledgements in plaques, signs, and email signatures
The acknowledgement of Formally Recognised Traditional Owners on plaques, signs, and email signatures should follow the same steps as an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners.
You should cross-check the location of the plaque, sign, or building in the map below to see if there is a Formally Recognised Traditional Owner corporation for that place.
How can I find out who are the formally recognised Traditional Owners?
The easiest way to find out is to consult the interactive map. In the map you can search for an area, a postcode or an address to find the formally recognised Traditional Owners.