‘Being welcomed to Country means that you are talking to your spiritual ancestors and you’re saying just let this person come through. We trust that they’re not going to do any harm on this Country and so do not harm them.’ — Jude Barlow, Ngunnawal Elder.
Welcome to Country rituals go back to when visitors had to wait to be welcomed into a camp or ceremony — sometimes left sitting outside the camp for days until people were ready for them and sure that they would not bring harm.
Jude Barlow talks about the significance of being welcomed to Country.
What is Country?
‘Country is everything. It’s family, it’s life, it’s connection’. — Jude Barlow, Ngunnawal Elder
Country is the term often used by Aboriginal peoples to describe the lands, waterways and seas to which they are connected. The term contains complex ideas about law, place, custom, language, spiritual belief, cultural practice, material sustenance, family and identity.
Jude Barlow talks about what Country means to her.
Acknowledging when you’re on the land of Traditional Owners is a sign of respect which acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ownership and custodianship of the land, their ancestors and traditions. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can show this form of respect.
Only the traditional owners can speak for and welcome visitors to Country or give others the authority to do so.
Jude Barlow talks about the difference between a Welcome to Country and an acknowledgment of Country.
Hosting a Welcome to Country
Are you looking to host a Welcome to Country? Jude Barlow talks about what you should consider.
Engaging with traditional owners
Only the traditional owners can speak for and welcome visitors to Country or give others the authority to do so. To find information about the traditional owners of a particular area contact the local area council, local Aboriginal land council or community organisation.