Paying Respect to the First Peoples of Australia
'An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Similar to a Welcome to Country, an Acknowledgement of Country is generally offered at the beginning of a meeting, speech or formal occasion.' ~ Reconciliation Australia
The Acknowledgement Song was first written on Whadjuk Noongar country. Guidance was sought from Aunty Marie Taylor, Aunty Merinda Hansen and Aunty Della Rae Morrison when writing The Acknowledgement Song.
What is an Acknowledgment of Country?
An Acknowledgement of Country is a modern interpretation of a traditional ceremonial act, where respect is paid to the First Peoples of the land. Ancestors are called upon to protect visitors and provide them with safe passage on country.
How can we use this song?
The Acknowledgement Song can be sung by everyone in Australia, to show respect for the First Peoples of this country. Before singing this song, please clarify with the traditional custodians, the name of the country you are upon, and change lyrics accordingly. As a reference, you may wish to consult the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia. https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/aiatsis-map-indigenous-australia
When can we sing this song?
The song may be sung as a response to a Welcome to Country given by an Aboriginal Elder or community member. If a Welcome to Country is not presented, the song can still be sung at the beginning of a gathering, however it is preferable that a Welcome to Country has first been extended. Authentically connecting with local First Nations Peoples and building respectful relationships provides a genuine space for reconciliation.
About the Artist?
"After witnessing many uncomfortable 'tick a box' acknowledgements where people stumbled their way through, I wondered if, when delivering an acknowledgement of country, a song would more authentically connect people with their own hearts and with the hearts of their audience. After all, music connects us all. This is when The Acknowledgement Song came through, and after seeking and acting on Elders' advice, I first sang the song on Whadjuk Noongar country in 2018. Since then it has been sung across the continent, across the globe and now has a life of its own." ~Jemma King
Jemma King is a non-Indigenous woman, born on Whadjuk boodjar in Perth, Western Australia. With a profound respect for country, First Peoples and culture, she has written this song for the purpose of acknowledging First Nations Peoples and their country.
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