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(MENAFN- The Conversation)

Pauline Hanson’s recent dramatic outburst and walkout from parliament as an Acknowledgement of Country was delivered has been condemned as racist and ignorant .

Social media sites reporting this incident have attracted a barrage of negative comments perpetuating misconceptions around Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country. Many clearly do not understand what they are and see them as“special treatment”. Unfortunately, Hanson has been a source of this line of thinking around so-called“special treatment”, as seen in her 1996 maiden speech to parliament.

Such comments reveal an Australian society still burdened with an unfounded resentment and fear of Aboriginal rights and connection to Country.

So, what is an Acknowledgement of Country? How is it different to a Welcome to Country?

A Welcome to Country is delivered at Parliament House in Adelaide. AAP Image/Morgan Sette

Read more: The courage to feel uncomfortable: what Australians need to learn to achieve real reconciliation

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country is often made at the start of an event to pay respect to First Nations peoples as the Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians of the land.

An Acknowledgement often highlights the unique position of First Nations people in the context of culture and history, and their intimate relationship with the land.

An Acknowledgement does not exclude anyone. Anyone can deliver one. It costs nothing to give or listen to. You lose nothing from a ten second acknowledgement of the Country, language, and people that existed in a place for tens of thousands of years.

An Acknowledgement does not impact on the rights and status of other Australian people.

Read more: ‘Don’t read the comments’: misinformed and malicious comments stifle Indigenous voices

What is a Welcome to Country?

Acknowledgement of Country is different to a Welcome to Country. Crucially, only Traditional Owners can deliver a Welcome to Country.

Traditionally, First Nations people travelling to different Country had to seek permission to enter from the Traditional Owners. If granted, permission was given by way of a Welcome to Country.

Today, inviting an Elder to perform a Welcome is a way to recognise unceded Aboriginal sovereignty of ancestral lands. It’s also a way to honour ancient and continuing First Nations customs.

Wurundjeri Elder Joy Murphy Wandin has described Welcome to Country as practised by her people:

It’s common to see a Welcome to Country at a sporting event. AAP Image/Matt Turner

Acknowledgements and Welcomes to Country weren’t invented to divide First Nations and non-Indigenous people.

Although both have been widely revived in …….

Source: https://menafn.com/1104628852/What-Is-An-Acknowledgement-Of-Country-And-How-Is-It-Different-To-A-Welcome-To-Country


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