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A Welcome to Country is given by Aboriginal people, welcoming visitors to their Land. Only Tasmanian Aboriginal people can give a Welcome to Country in Tasmania. It is highly disrespectful for anyone else to do so.
A Welcome to Country might involve:
This depends on who is giving the Welcome to Country, and to whom it will be given.
Tasmanian Aboriginal people have a distinctive and age-old connection with their ancestral lands and waters. They are custodians with particular responsibilities. When an Aboriginal person talks of ‘Country’; this encompasses not only the land and water but also culture, knowledge, and the environment.
A Welcome to Country may be given at an event, conference, meeting or exhibition regardless of whether there is an Aboriginal focus or if there are Aboriginal people present.
The Office of Aboriginal Affairs is able to assist with information and direction regarding a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgment of Country.
An Acknowledgement of Country is respect and recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples’ survival and continual connection with the land spanning more than 60,000 years. An Acknowledgement of Country pays respect to the Aboriginal community, both past and present.
An Acknowledgment of Country can be given at an official opening, meeting, concert, school assembly, or other event. Any person can give an Acknowledgement of Country.
In the absence of a Welcome to Country, an Acknowledgment of Country may be given. It should be the first item on the agenda. Speakers also often acknowledge Country as they speak for the first time (even though a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country may have already been given).
If no Aboriginal people are at the event, the following wording could be used:
A combination of these acknowledgments may also be used.
As a direct result of invasion, Aboriginal people were not permitted to speak their language or practise their culture, resulting in a great loss of Tasmanian Aboriginal language. However, some Aboriginal people in Tasmania did continue to use their language, passing some language down to their children and grandchildren.
palawa kani is the reconstruction of languages used by Tasmanian Aboriginal people, researched and developed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Today, palawa kani is spoken and practised within the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
If a person cannot pronounce a traditional place name in palawa kani it is advisable not to attempt to do so.
For any additional information or assistance contact the Office of Aboriginal Affairs.