‘Acknowledgement of country’ by bushwalking clubs
Bushwalking NSW have recently been asked an interesting question from one of our affiliated clubs: “_Just wondering if any of the bushwalking clubs are doing `acknowledgement of country’ on their walks. We would like to include this in our programmed walks and would be interested to hear if other clubs are carrying this out._” So … are any clubs acknowledging Country before they step into that country?
You will notice that at the top of the BNSW newsletter we now have a statement of acknowledgement: “_Bushwalking NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia, and acknowledges and respects their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge their custodianship of the Country in which we engage our bushwalking and related activities”._
Since all bushwalking clubs rely on Country as a core resource for our outdoor activities, it would seem appropriate for clubs to include a similar statement on their websites. It is now customary to acknowledge Country at the start of meetings and the same could also be done at the start of walks and other activities.
Clubs may wish to acknowledge the local indigenous people of their specific region or area. You can find an authorised map of language groups here. Note that some areas may come under the influence of two or more language groups. Also please be aware of the stated restrictions on reproducing the map.
You may wish to adapt BNSW’s words for your own use:
<_Your Bushwalking Club name> acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of <Your Indigenous Nation> Country, and acknowledges and respects their connections to land, sea _[optional; not relevant if you are inland club_] and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge their custodianship of the Country in which we engage our bushwalking and related activities.
Thank you for considering this important issue.
Bill Boyd, President, Bushwalking NSW