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Rediscovering the places we think we know

Most Australians have little idea of their traditional Country, let alone the stories of the cultures that have been there for thousands of years. A campaign launched this week called Connect to Country is trying to change that, encouraging non-Indigenous Australians to discover “with a brand, old perspective” the land they call home. The campaign has been created by Aboriginal creative consultancy Creative x in partnership with Facebook. It comes in time for NAIDOC Week, the annual celebration of the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year’s NAIDOC theme is “Heal the country,” calling for greater land, water, and Aboriginal sacred sites and cultural heritage protections. It ties in with the Connect to Country pitch to non-Indigenous Australians. A video posted this week on the campaign’s Facebook page asks, “Where are you from?” “Wherever you live right now, you’re in a traditional Country. And most don’t know how to spell it. Doesn’t feel right, does it?” viewers are asked.

“We’re inviting you to rediscover all the places you think you know and learn to see them with a brand old perspective.” Australians are encouraged to learn how to acknowledge their Country and connect with their local community and language groups. “Acknowledging country is easy; you just have to hit the right beats,” says Gamilaroi woman and Nine Network presenter Brooke Boney for the campaign.


“Acknowledge the traditional owners of the country you’re on, make sure you say the name right, and pay respects to elders past and present. Those are the key bits; the rest is up to you.” Other tips include engaging with traditional owner events, following Indigenous organizations, and supporting businesses.

Bidjigal man Brad Cooke, the co-founder of creative consultancy Campfire x, said Connect to Country was the beginning of a movement. For many non-Indigenous people who’ve never been around Aboriginal people or communities, sometimes there are little or no Indigenous friends on their Facebook page,” he told AAP.

It’s showing them something that they would never see themselves alternatively.

“There’s a genuine willingness for non-Indigenous Australians to want to engage with Indigenous peoples or communities. They have a fear.

A fear that they’re not going to do it the right way. We’re looking to remove that fear.

Facebook’s location-specific technology will target geographic areas with stories about the area’s local Indigenous community. In the first phase of the campaign, residents in four regions of NSW – Brewarrina, Dubbo, Port Stephens, and La Perouse – will be served local stories on their social media feeds, encouraging them to learn more about their local First Nations community.

More geographically targeted Indigenous storytelling will be produced in other areas in the coming months.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aren’t one person and one race,” Mr. Cooke said.

“One story doesn’t reflect the whole counCountryat’s what this website and this movement will show.”

Connect to CounCountry be found at facebook.com/ConnecttoCountry

NAIDOC Week runs from July 4 to 11. Events can be found at naidoc.org.au

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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