Acknowledgement of Country
The Equality Institute (EQI) was founded in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia) on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of this land and waterways, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, as well as their elders, past, present, and emerging. We extend this respect to all Indigenous peoples of this continent and its adjacent lands, recognising their cultures as the oldest continuous living cultures in human history. We recognise the deep and enduring spiritual connections and relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with community, as well as the lands, oceans, waterways, air, and sky. Furthermore, we acknowledge and pay our respects to Indigenous, First Nations people, and other Traditional Custodians of the many lands where EQI works around the world. We acknowledge that the land we live, work, and play on, always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
We recognise that violence and suffering are an inextricable part of our country’s colonial past and - whether its colonial violence or not - that past still impacts to this day. Australia is built on the stolen lands of hundreds of Aboriginal nations, each with their own rich traditions, languages and cultures. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. EQI recognises that, as non-Indigenous people of this country, we benefit from the ongoing effects of colonisation, including a system that continues to displace, disadvantage, discriminate against and harm, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In light of this history, we also acknowledge the incredible strength, knowledge, skills and lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; it is a resilience that remains unbroken, even after more than 60,000 years.
Here at EQI, we are continuing to build our understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonisation and commit to move forward in ways that contribute to positive change. We commit to Makarrata (a process of truth-telling and restoration, then healing, after a dispute), to acknowledge our collective histories and to listen deeply to Indigenous people’s stories and experiences, recognising that their traditional knowledges have been, and continues to be, an invaluable resource that benefits us all. We work – both internally within our organisation and externally with partners – to promote anti-racism and dismantle systems and structures of oppression. We do this knowing it will challenge us and require courage. Acknowledging the need to address systemic power imbalances and unequal power dynamics within partnerships, EQI will strive to work in fair and equal partnership with Indigenous communities and organisations.
Regarding our work and purpose – the prevention of violence against women and girls – we understand that all forms of oppression are interlinked and, we cannot address gender inequality without also addressing racial inequality. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other Indigenous people around the world, as leaders and knowledge holders in this space. We particularly pay our respects to, and acknowledge, the strong Indigenous women leading this work. Indigenous people’s generosity, hope and ongoing efforts to prevent violence, inspires us. We are committed to listening, learning, and working alongside one another with humility, perseverance, and open hearts and minds. It is our hope that we can be a contributor to a future that is just and free from violence for communities everywhere.
This Acknowledgement of Country was developed based on Hopeful, Together, Strong: Principles of good practice to prevent violence against women in the Northern Territory by Chay Brown (The Equality Institute) and the Central Australian Minimum Standards for the Men's Behaviour Change Programs by Chay Brown (The Equality Institute) and Maree Corbo (The Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program). We thank them for generously sharing these frameworks with us.
The Equality Institute would also like to thank those who generously gave their time, experience, and expertise to review our Acknowledgement of Country. We are very grateful for your insights and for helping us learn.
- Julieanne Axford, Gail Smith and colleagues from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
- Shirleen Campbell and Carmel Simpson from the Tangentyere Women's Family Safety Group.
- Sharon Meagher from the South Australian Department of Health and Wellbeing, Centre for Education and Training at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.
- Minda Murray from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research.
- Hannah Taylor from 1800 RESPECT.