Acknowledgment of Land - Definition and Explanation

Acknowledgment of Land – Definition and Explanation

Understanding Acknowledgement of Land: Meaning and Importance in DEI Initiatives

Acknowledgement of land has become increasingly significant in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. This practice entails recognising and honouring the Indigenous peoples who historically inhabited and cared for the land on which we live, work, and gather. Understanding the importance of acknowledging land is crucial for fostering cultural awareness, promoting reconciliation, and honouring Indigenous communities’ contributions.


Acknowledgement of land involves formally recognising the traditional Indigenous owners of the land, typically spoken or written at the onset of events, meetings, or public gatherings. It serves as a means to honour and show respect to the Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands were colonised. This practice acknowledges the enduring connection of Indigenous communities to the land, their rich cultural heritage, and the impacts of colonisation.

Importance of Acknowledgement of Land in DEI Initiatives:

  1. Cultural Respect and Recognition: Acknowledging the traditional Indigenous owners of the land demonstrates a commitment to cultural respect and recognition. It acknowledges the historical injustices faced by Indigenous peoples and their continued resilience in preserving their cultural heritage.
  2. Truth and Reconciliation: In many regions, acknowledging the land is part of broader truth and reconciliation efforts aimed at addressing historical injustices and fostering healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. It acknowledges the truth of colonial history and opens the door to meaningful dialogue and reconciliation.
  3. Building Inclusive Spaces: Incorporating acknowledgment of land into DEI initiatives helps create inclusive spaces where all individuals feel valued and respected. It promotes a deeper understanding of the diverse histories and experiences of Indigenous peoples and fosters a sense of belonging for Indigenous community members.


Before commencing a conference on environmental sustainability, the organisers begin by acknowledging the land: “We acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional lands of the [Name of Indigenous People], who have stewarded this land for generations. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and commit to honouring their ongoing connection to this land.”


Acknowledgement of land is a vital practice within DEI initiatives, emphasising respect, reconciliation, and inclusivity. By recognising the traditional Indigenous owners of the land, we honour their cultural heritage, acknowledge historical injustices, and contribute to building more equitable and inclusive communities. Integrating acknowledgment of land into various events and gatherings is a meaningful step towards fostering understanding and collaboration across diverse cultural backgrounds.


Stewart-Ambo, T., & Yang, K. W. (2021). Beyond land acknowledgment in settler institutions. Social Text39(1), 21-46.

Blenkinsop, S., & Fettes, M. (2020). Land, language and listening: The transformations that can flow from acknowledging indigenous land. Journal of Philosophy of Education54(4), 1033-1046.

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