Acknowledgments of Country

It has become commonplace in the last two decades for public meetings or gatherings in Australia or of Australians elsewhere in the world to open with an Acknowledgment of Country statement. This is a statement thanking the traditional indigenous community who inhabited the land on which the meeting is being held, and (usually) expressing respect to the traditional elders, past, present and emerging, of that community. Last night, for instance, a panel discussion held at King’s College London on the topic of the upcoming Voice Referendum began with such statements from several of the invited speakers acknowledging traditional custodians of parts of Australia where where they had grown up or studied. I have also witnessed such statements at private meetings and internal organizational meetings in Australia, even when these events were held online.
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