We should acknowledge colonisation.
As a Kaytetye woman, I always acknowledge Country just the same as everyone else.
I’ve never lived on my Country, I grew up 300kms south of my family’s homeland. Arrernte Country is where I call home, and I’ve always been thankful for the custodians of the land, and the elders and ancestors that watch over me in the beautiful valley called Illparpa.
Now I live in Naarm, and spend my time working in social change trying to improve outcomes for young mob. Every time I attend a meeting or an event, I often feel numb as people rattle off a script to acknowledge country. A box ticking exercise.
Sometimes though, I’ll hear someone put their heart into the acknowledgement and make a personal connection to what they are sharing. They share how much it means to be on this Country, and the privilege we all hold in standing on unceded lands.
Country is as alive as you or I, it is a character in itself.
It feels the impacts of our behaviour.
It holds histories and stories as old as time. Stories of pre contact, stories of the colonial frontier, stories of today.
Our acknowledgements are hollow unless they acknowledge the true history and colonial impact still faced by First Nations people today.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of this land. I pay my respect to elders and communities who have always looked after this Country, and still face the ongoing impacts of colonisation on their sacred and sovereign land