Welcome to Country
It is customary that within the NQLC region acknowledgement should be given to Traditional Owners when holding meetings on their Country. Please contact the NQLC Chief Executive Officer for details of Traditional Owners' Country within our region.
The best practice is to invite an Elder from the Traditional Owner Group to Welcome your meeting attendants to their Country. This is a means of respecting Aboriginal People and their traditional links to their Country and demonstrates your commitment to the principles of reconciliation between Aboriginal Australians and Non-Aboriginal Australians. Traditional Owners may require a small payment to attend and open your meeting with a Welcome to Country address.
If it is not possible to invite a Traditional Owner representative to your meeting, the best practice would be to use words similar to the extract below to commence your meeting:
“We acknowledge the Traditional Owners on whose Country the meeting is taking place. We thank them for allowing us to meet on their Country and acknowledge their Elders past and present.”
Sometimes a minute silence is observed for ancestors who have passed on that Aboriginal People still believe are present within their Country today.
On major occasions such as national conferences, etc, some Traditional Owner groups may perform a traditional smoking ceremony to ensure there are no malevolent Aboriginal spirits to disrupt the proceedings. These smoking ceremonies are extremely culturally significant and are performed to ensure the success of the meeting. If a Traditional Owner wishes to perform this ceremony at your Welcome to Country, consider this as a sign of good will. Cultural practices may vary between different Aboriginal cultural groups.
Sometimes there may be competing claims over the same area in which case the NQLC recommends that you contact or invite both groups to perform your Welcome to Country.