[Linux-aus] Acknowledgement of country

Donna Benjamin donna at kattekrab.net
Sat Nov 7 12:32:48 AEDT 2015

----- Original Message -----
From: "Anthony Towns" <aj at erisian.com.au>
> While I'm sure some people take it seriously and do it with good intent 
> and it can be a good thing -- such as Donna and Clinton at Mel8 and pycon; 
> anywhere it becomes policy, including in Parliament, it's just an opportunity 
> to demonstrate someone's political clout.

aj/david - thanks for respectfully disagreeing with me and Clinton on this.

Brent and Noel - I felt your responses were pretty rude to those of us who think this is important.

For those of you who also indicated your support for the idea - thank you.

Russell, thanks for raising the suggestion in the first place.

Debate about the "acknowledgement / welcome to country" custom at the start of public gatherings has been going on for a long time.

I found this crikey wrap up of opinions from 5 years ago to be an interesting snapshot.


I have to admit I'm disappointed by some of the responses I've read on list here.

A community leadership summit unconf will be happeneing again as a miniconf at LCA, and I have actively invited members of some aboriginal organisations to come and share their thoughts on community leadership.  I feel embarrassed about having done that now.

I reached out to a couple of indigenous leaders to encourage them to submit a miniconf proposal to explore open technology use in indigenous cultures.  I see now that may have been premature, and they were right to be cautious.

Many years ago, there were very few women at LCA. The Women in Linux miniconf served to create a welcoming space for women at our event, and numbers of women participating in the conference increased. I was hoping we might be able to do something similar and create a welcoming environment so we could hear some new voices, and further expand our opportunities to learn from a very under represented group.

I've had many international visitors remark that they found the acknowledgement or welcome to country to be a good thing.  I think it's a really lovely custom.  I don't see it as identity politics at all - but as something uniquely Australian, uniquely "local" to place, and a genuine, and open hearted way to welcome newcomers, and acknowledge even older customs about bringing people together.

Apologies to council who want discussion moved to the Policy list - but this response is not about pros and cons of creating or refusing to create policy - but about the way we have responded to that request.

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