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Being a national resource, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet acknowledges the traditional owners and Elders past and present across Australia, with particular acknowledgment to the Wadjuk people of the Nyoongar nation, the traditional owners of the lands where our offices are located.
The HealthInfoNet recognises that there is great diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. This diversity, reflecting traditional and geographical variations across Australia and different experiences since 1788, is an integral part of contemporary Indigenous society.
The diversity exists in specific beliefs, stories and myths, religions, ritual practices and language. It is also seen in contemporary lifestyles, with Indigenous people living in remote, rural and urban communities.
This great diversity has important implications for efforts aimed at closing the gaps in health between Indigenous and other Australians.
Acknowledging the traditional owners of country and seeking permission to enter or use resources have always been a part of Australian Indigenous culture, and increasingly, the practice is occurring in wider Australian society.
It is now customary to acknowledge traditional ownership of the land at the commencement of conferences, major functions and public presentations. This acknowledgement pays respect to the traditional owners and their ancestors and affirms the cultural, spiritual and religious practices of Indigenous people. It also increases awareness and recognition of Australia's Indigenous peoples and cultures.
An Acknowledgment of Country is a way both non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people from other areas can show respect for Indigenous heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional owners with the land.
Acknowledgement can take the form of a general recognition of the 'traditional owners of the land'. Alternatively, more specific recognition can be given to the language group on whose land the event is taking place. The Map of Aboriginal Australia, published by Aboriginal Studies Press, has been reproduced here, with permission, to help identify the traditional language group of the area where the event is held. The boundaries may not, however, be precise and it would be prudent to confirm that the language group designated is acceptable to local Indigenous people.