A very simple but powerful way your church can show respect to indigenous peoples is to include an Acknowledgement of Country ceremony in your church service at the beginning of each year.We also recommend including an acknowledgement of country on your church website and as a regular item in your church newsletter.

An Acknowledgement of Country is a simple statement that recognises the traditional indigenous owners of the land on which your church meets.There are no set protocols or wording for an Acknowledgement of Country, though often a statement may take the following form: “We acknowledge that our church meetings are held on the traditional lands of the (appropriate group) people, and we pay our respect to elders both past and present.”

Prior to the arrival of Europeans to Australia, the continent was inhabited by a large number of indigenous nations. European colonisation saw these nations stripped of their land and subjected to violence, discrimination and disadvantage. The legacy of this dispossession remains with us today. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have, on average, substantially poorer health and educational outcomes than non-indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exclusion from Australia, our history books, our flag, anthem and for many years our democracy can never be undone—and the damage it has done cannot be reversed. What can be done, alongside efforts in health, education and employment, are practices of inclusion. Including recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in events, meetings and national symbols is one part of ending the exclusion that has been so damaging.

For more information see this Reconciliation Australia Fact Sheet