Artist: Chad Briggs

Our Culture

The principles of inclusion and non-judgment are at the very heart of the St Vincent de Paul Society’s mission and origins.​ We are committed to ensuring anyone seeking our assistance is treated consistently and equitably irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, political, religious or philosophical allegiance, physical ability, family status, age or sexual orientation. Across Victoria, we have a workforce of thousands doing our ‘Good Works’, and whether they come as conference members, volunteers or employees we want them to know how valued they are. The qualities that make each of our people unique aren’t just embraced ​​- they’re valued. We value diversity and believe it is essential to our success. That’s why we’re committed to building a workplace that’s as diverse as it is caring.​

The Society's Acknowledgement of CountryAcknowledgement of Country by Chad Briggs

We acknowledge that we are meeting today on the lands of the [insert Traditional Owners name] people and we wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Custodians.

We acknowledge the richness, diversity, and sophistication of the cultures of First Nation peoples.

We acknowledge with sorrow the wrongs of the past that have taken place and continue into today.

We pay deep respects to Elders past and present and honour the strong leadership that is evident in the emerging Elders of tomorrow.

We hope to partner together and work to build a more just and compassionate society for the Traditional Owners of this land. ​

Prayer for Reconciliation

Holy Spirit, we pray that the St Vincent de Paul Society be a place in which the First Peoples of Australia are welcomed and deeply respected.

May the Elders be blessed and honoured.

May this sacred land of ours truly inspire us to come together as one.

Renew our hearts as we heal one another and build a future based on mercy, justice, faith, hope, and love.

May we listen and learn from each other as we walk together in a profound spirit of reconciliation.

 

Why is the Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country important?

A Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners recognises the continuing connection of Aboriginal Traditional Owners to their Country. Victoria has a strong and proud Aboriginal history, comprising of complex ownership and land stewardship systems stretching back many thousands of years. 

​When should I use the Acknowledgement of Country​? 

For Society meetings, an Acknowledgement of Country should occur and be listed as an Agenda item at the start of the meeting. The Prayer of Reconciliation can also be used at the start of meetings in addition to the Acknowledgement of Country.  

How can I find out who the formally recognised traditional owners are for the country I am meeting? 

The easiest way to find out who the Formally Recognised Traditional Owners are for an area is to consult the interactive map

If the Traditional Owners have not been formally recognised for the land on which your event is taking place, you should acknowledge Traditional Owners generally, without making a reference to the name of any specific Traditional Owners. An example of such an acknowledgement is provided below: 

'I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and the Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.' ​    

What is the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country/Traditional Owners? 

Welcome to Country ceremony is performed by Aboriginal Traditional Owners for people visiting their Country. These ceremonies vary from speeches of welcome to traditional dance and smoking ceremonies.  

An Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners can be done by anyone and is a way of showing awareness of, and respect for, the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held.