Individuals and organisations can personally commit to learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through a range of SBS-run education and immersion sessions or by reaching out to qualified Indigenous-owned organisations. Learning more helps to shift long-held behaviours that can create barriers for growth and opportunity.
Understanding Connection to Country
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, land is more than physical elements - Country represents culture, spirituality, language, law, family and identity. For this reason, land cannot be owned and each person is entrusted with the cultural knowledge and responsibility to care for the land they identify with through kinship systems.
Read more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Connection to Country.
Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country
A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, Traditional Owners or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been given permission, to welcome visitors onto their Country. The ceremony provides safe passage for the physical and spiritual being of visitors to a new land, and is appropriate for major functions and formal occasions, as well as events that have broad impact on, or are culturally significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Arranging a Welcome to Country provides an opportunity to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and forge genuine, respectful relationships within your local community.
An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Country, Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be delivered by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and it is appropriate to perform an Acknowledgement of Country at the commencement of a meeting, function, event or formal occasion.
For more information on how you can acknowledge Country, visit Indigenous.gov.au.
Traditional Owners of the Land
Learn about the custodians of your local area
Find where you are on Country
Find out who the Traditional Owners are of the land you live and work on.
Use this AIATSIS to find who the custodians of Country are where you live, and learn more about the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.
What is a Smoking Ceremony?
Smoking Ceremonies have been performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for thousands of years and are an important way of connecting people to Country. A Smoking Ceremony can be performed as its own ceremony or at the commencement of another ceremony. This ancient custom involves burning native leaves, bark and fungi to create smoke which has cleansing and protection properties and is designed to promote the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and visitors. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will only use a certain type of leaves or bark to create the smoke based on the type of ceremony taking place and who is present.
What is Storytelling?
Storytelling plays an integral role in the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples pass on cultural practices, belief systems, practical teachings, and perspectives about the past, present and future from generation to generation.
Important histories can be told through mediums such as song, dance, carvings, rock and sand art, body painting and message sticks. More contemporary histories are expressed through visual and performing arts, multimedia and literary works such as plays and poetry.
The practice of storytelling ensures that the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are continually passed down from Elders to the next generation, keeping the culture alive and reinforcing a sense of belonging and existence.
Dates of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
There are many dates of cultural significance which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples celebrate or acknowledge, and which are important to all Australians. You can download a calendar which includes some of the more widely recognised dates and events.
Reporting Guidelines and Terminology
Reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Issues: An introductory resource for the media
Fair and accurate representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is essential for respectful reporting and vital to the level of trust communities have with the media industry. Indigenous narratives are often complex and nuanced, and journalists and communicators should be mindful of how language is used and contextualised.
The guide, which has been developed by Media Diversity Australia in partnership with National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and supported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is available to view here.
The Greater Perspective: Protocols and Guidelines for the Production of Film and Television on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
The guide includes detailed information on when and how to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, consultation and consent, depicting deceased persons and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property, and is available to read here.
What is a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)?
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan with practical actions that build respectful relationships, creates opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and drives an organisation's contribution to reconciliation. It includes practical actions both internally and in the communities in which it operates.
A RAP ultimately provides a framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement - regardless of what stage you are at.
Visit the Reconciliation Australia website for more detail on how you can build your own RAP.
Training for media professionals
SBS have developed the Inclusion Program, an online training course that helps companies embrace diversity and inclusion. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Course is specifically designed to assist people in understanding the importance and advantages of Australian Indigenous cultural diversity through the exploration of family, kinship and history.
For more information, visit the Inclusion Program website.
BlackCard is a 100% Aboriginal owned and operated business who specialise in cultural education workshops, training and consultancy. The team are dedicated to building cultural capability to work effectively with members of the Aboriginal community.
For more information, visit the BlackCard website.