What is Welcome to Country?

What is a Welcome to Country?

A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples to welcome visitors to their traditional Country. It can only be performed by a person who is ‘right for Country’, meaning they are accepted by the local Traditional Owners as being able to speak for the Country and give the Welcome.

An alternative way of recognising the Traditional Owners and their connection to Country is by giving an Acknowledgement of Country statement, which may be given by anyone.

Including a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country statement ahead of a meeting or event promotes recognition of past and ongoing connections that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to their ancestral lands.

Who are the Traditional Owners?

To find out which Traditional Owner group is local to the area where an event or meeting is being held, contact any of the following resources:

  • The local council in the area where the event is being held,
  • The native title service provider or representative body for the place in which the event is being held, or
  • The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

QSNTS is the native title representative body for the southern region of Queensland and may be able to assist with providing information about right people for right Country. To get in touch, call us on 1800 663 693 or click here.

How are Traditional Owners acknowledged?

There is no set wording for recognising Traditional Owners prior to a meeting or event, but a suggested Acknowledgement of Country statement is as follows:

I/we to acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the [local Traditional Owner group] people and pay my/our respect to Elders both past and present.