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At St Leonard’s College, we are deeply committed to incorporating an Acknowledgement of Country or Welcome to Country into our events, gatherings and meetings, thereby showing our respect by upholding these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols.
It is important to note the difference between an Acknowledgement of Country and a Welcome to Country.
An Acknowledgement of Country can be offered by any person and like a Welcome to Country, is given at the beginning of a meeting, speech or event. Our Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for our College community to respectfully recognise the Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country.
A Welcome to Country can only be delivered by Traditional Owners, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been given permission from Traditional Owners to welcome visitors to their Country on which the event is taking place.
St Leonard’s College recognises that Welcomes to Country and Acknowledgements of Country are protocols that have been practised for thousands of years. For non-Indigenous Australians, Acknowledgement of Country can be a symbol of reconciliation.
Our staff and students throughout all year levels of the College include Acknowledgements of Country at assemblies, meetings, performances and events.
One example is the Acknowledgement of Country below, written and presented by our year 6 student, Arjun Gupta, at our NAIDOC week event featuring Mitch Tambo. (Click here to learn more about this event).
“We acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples here at St Leonard’s College and everywhere else in the world.
Today we are gathering on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation. We understand that the Boonwurrung People have a special connection to their land and we respect and admire this. Bunurong Country is not just a pinpoint on a map. It’s where they’ve been living, where they are part of the land and where their heart and culture is and will always be.
The Bunurong Elders have been vital in keeping this land peaceful and balanced for thousands of years and we pay our respects and admiration to them. We are so lucky that we are able to learn and benefit from our First Nations Elders’ teachings and care for Country.
We turn to the emerging elders that carry the responsibility to guide all of us on how we can keep this land balanced and peaceful, just like their ancestors did many, many years ago. In everything we do we aim to stay true to our word and do what the First Nations People think is right for the land, its people and its animals.” Arjun Gupta, Year 6
Another example of our commitment is in our Early Learning Centre, where our children include an Acknowledgement of Country in their morning meeting, as featured in the video below.
The term “Country” is one used to describe the lands, waterways and seas to which our Indigenous peoples are connected. A “Country” may represent an Indigenous Australian language, social or nation group. The term “Country” contains complex ideas about place, cultural practice, custom, spiritual beliefs, law, language, material sustenance, family and identity.
St Leonard’s College is located on Bunurong Country, with Boonwurrung referring to the language.
We invite you to explore the Indigenous Australian Map of Australia by clicking here.