Quick summary: This activity will support educators in finding out how to prepare and give an Acknowledgement of Country.
It is recommended that educators complete this activity for their own professional development as part of the Caring for Country – Learning for Educators unit, and before commencing activities with children from the Caring For Country – Tuning In and Themed Activities units.
Lesson Information – What is Country?
Connection to Country is complex and multi-layered. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples maintain a special connection to their matriarchal Country no matter where they’re presently living, as well as a connection to the Country they’re currently on. Connection to Country can influence spiritual, physical, cultural, social and emotional wellbeing.
Connection to Country cannot be separated from identity; Country or language group provides a person with their identity as it defines who they are, where they come from and the places they hold responsibility for.
Skin names, totems and links to family, ancestors and Dreaming stories also come from Country.
While a worldview is founded on beliefs about Country as the source of all life, and emotional attachment to Country, it also holds a deep ecological and spiritual knowledge for each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person known as Dreamings. These are carried, told and re-told, enabling individuals, families and communities to know where they have come from, their purpose and where they are heading (Source).
“Culture is central to identity. Culture defines who we are, how we think, how we communicate, what we value and what is important to us… Your culture helps define HOW you attach, HOW you express emotion, HOW you learn and HOW you stay healthy.” Muriel Bamblett (2006), VACCA 2010a, Building Respectful Partnerships: The Commitment to Aboriginal Cultural Competence in Child and Family Services, Melbourne: VACCA, p. 13
This might be a very different way to knowing and seeing the world than your own culture. Continue to be open-minded and self-aware of how your values and ways of doing things may be different, as well as where they might cross over.