An Acknowledgement of Country can be done by any person. In an official event it would be the most senior person of the organisation or church (i.e. CEO, Board Chair, Senior Pastor, Principal). It should always be at the start of the event or service. Many people are used to hearing set wording but Aboriginal Christian Leader, Brooke Prentis, encourages people by saying "An Acknowledgement of Country is more than just words, it is about heart and mind coming together through a genuine want and act of building relationship with Aboriginal peoples." Below is some standard wording, but as you are moved by heart and mind, what Aboriginal people have taught you, and what you know about your own Traditional Custodians of your local area, let your words be led by the Spirit.
"We would like to acknowledge, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today (insert people and nation if known). We would also like to pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future (or emerging). (Specifically name any Elders or Leaders. Specifically name any Aboriginal Elders or Leaders who are present). We acknowledge all other Aboriginal peoples present."
Suggested additional wording in a church context:
- "The Traditional Custodians are stewards/caretakers on behalf of our Almighty Creator"
- "We promise to walk softly and gently on this land."
- Add in the features of the landscape and/or Aboriginal history in the area eg. mountains, rivers, creeks, mangroves, sacred sites
- Your local government / council website is a great place to start in learning who your local Traditional Custodians are
Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal Christian Leader is currently writing a book which will explore Acknowledgement of Country in a Christian context. This will be available in 2021. If you would like Brooke to speak to your church about Acknowledgement of Country please email [email protected]
Read an example of a church using art to Acknowledge Country here.