Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians


To promote reconciliation and maintain awareness of and respect for the dignity of Aboriginal peoples.


The Acknowledgement of traditional custodians is spoken by a non Aboriginal person before the commencement of any meeting or gathering. It is the first words to be spoken and is followed by a short pause. If an Aboriginal person is present their welcome to country takes priority.

Suggested words of acknowledgement of traditional peoples

Choose one of the following 6 ‘acknowledgements of traditional custodians’ for your gathering.

  1. I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the ______ people, and call on the Spirit Ancestors to walk with us today as we share and learn together. (Pause)
  2. We acknowledge the traditional peoples of the land on which we stand. We pay our respects to them for their care of the land. (Pause)
  3. I would like to begin by acknowledging the people, the traditional custodians on whose land this  was built. (Pause)
  4. I acknowledge the living culture of the ______ people, the traditional custodians of the land we stand on, and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region. (Pause)
  5. I wish to begin by acknowledging that we are in the country of the ________ people.  I pay respect to their tribal elders, I celebrate their continuing culture, and I acknowledge the memory of their ancestors. (Pause)
  6. I would like to acknowledge the ______ people, the traditional custodians of the country on which we are meeting today.  I acknowledge that they have occupied and cared for this country over countless generations and I celebrate their continuing contribution to the life of this region. (Pause)

This acknowledgement could be said together

We acknowledge and pay respect to the ………… people as the original and ongoing owners and custodians of this land.  We commit ourselves to actively work alongside indigenous people for reconciliation and justice. (Pause)

Sites for identifying the traditional peoples of local areas

Source: CLRI (NSW) SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE, Reconciliation Sub-Group