This statement is intended to be an advocacy tool and a document to guide partnership between the Aboriginal community and state government agencies. It documents an agreed understanding of the importance of Connection to Country for Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and articulates principles to guide how Aboriginal people in South Australia can be better supported to connect to Country through the combined action of government, the non-government sector and the community.
‘Country’ is more than a geographic area: it encompasses the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations associated with Aboriginal people’s rights and identity. For Aboriginal people, country, culture and language are intrinsically linked.
Aboriginal leadership requires the right people in the community sharing their knowledge and guiding people in the community to continue, and also revive, traditional spiritual teachings and practices to ensure a continued sense of connection with, and giving back to, Country.
Recognising culture and language as determinants of Aboriginal health and wellbeing ensures that services are designed and delivered in culturally competent/appropriate ways that involves the inclusion of Aboriginal people.
The historical exclusion of Aboriginal people from the ownership and control of their traditional lands and waters should be redressed through co-management processes.