Welcome to Country Ceremony / Dance
Welcome to Country & Traditional Acknowledgement
  • Last updated:
  • 21 Jul 2022

Council supports the practice of procuring 'Welcome to Country' from, and acknowledging Country and the Traditional Custodians of the Sunshine Coast; the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples.

If you wish to request expressions of interest for a Welcome to Country please email the First Nations Partnerships team.

A Welcome to Country is a cultural practice whereby First Nations (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) Traditional Custodians welcome others to the land of their ancestors.

The Welcome to Country ceremony is carried out at significant events and formal functions involving people from other parts of the country or from overseas. This practice demonstrates respect for the Traditional Custodians and Elders of a particular area or region.

A Welcome to Country should be conducted as the first program item at all public functions. Appropriate functions include government organised, funded and co-funded events such as:

  • Openings of festivals
  • Award programs
  • Conferences
  • Significant community engagement forums

​​​​​​​A Welcome to Country should be incorporated into events where First Nations issues, programs or services are being promoted.

The Traditional Acknowledgement differs from a Welcome to Country in that it can be delivered by both First Nations and non-First Nations people. This practice demonstrates respect for First Nations cultures and recognises the importance of acknowledging Country and the Traditional Custodians of the land and/or sea.

A master of ceremonies either introduces the Traditional Custodian representative to provide a Welcome to Country or delivers a Traditional Acknowledgement.

Other key speakers and participants may wish to take the opportunity to also precede their discussions with a Traditional Acknowledgement.

A short pause should be taken after the Traditional Acknowledgement as a sign of respect, before proceedings continue.

An example of a Traditional Acknowledgement:

​​​​​“I would like to respectfully acknowledge the [Name of the Group if known] Traditional Custodians and the land [and/or sea] on which this event is taking place, and Elders both past and present.​​​​​​​

I also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote First Nations cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future Elders and leaders.”

Traditional Custodians groups or individuals will normally require remuneration to conduct a Welcome to Country.

A Welcome to Country that includes a traditional dance or smoking ceremony should be negotiated with the supplier.

Identifying the Traditional Custodians of a location

Customers can ascertain who the Traditional Custodians of a locality are by searching the Queensland Government's Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Partnerships' Cultural Heritage Register and following these simple instructions:

  1. On the tool bar, click on the black down arrow next to the speech bubble, to drop down a menu
  2. Click on Cultural Heritage Parties
  3. In the Quick Search, above the tool bar, enter the street address of the locality in question, click on the magnifying glass
  4. An aqua coloured circle will appear on the map, hover the mouse over the circle to reveal the Traditional Custodians of the locality.​​​​​​

Council Facility Traditional Acknowledgement program

As part of its Reconciliation Action Plan council has installed Traditional Acknowledgement plagues / signs on several of its facilities, including:

  • Libraries
  • Library mobile services
  • Venue 114
  • Council's Economic Development Office

Sunshine Coast Reconciliation Action Plan Traditional Acknowledgement

Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share.

We recognise that these have always been places of cultural, spiritual, social and economic significance. The Traditional Custodians’ unique values, and ancient and enduring cultures, deepen and enrich the life of our community.

We commit to working in partnership with the Traditional Custodians and the broader First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) communities to support self-determination through economic and community development.

Truth telling is a significant part of our journey. We are committed to better understanding the collective histories of the Sunshine Coast and the experiences of First Nations people. Legacy issues resulting from colonisation are still experienced by Traditional Custodians and First Nations people.

We recognise our shared history and will continue to work in partnership to provide a foundation for building a shared future with the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples.

We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the important role First Nations people continue to play within the Sunshine Coast community.

Together, we are all stronger.

More information

The Queensland Government provides a description of the Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodian protocols.

Customer enquiries relating to the region’s Traditional Custodians, council’s Reconciliation Action Plan or other First Nations projects supported by council, can be emailed to the First Nations Partnerships team.