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Sonder launches new Acknowledgement of Country statement

We are excited to announce the launch of our new Acknowledgement of Country statement today at Sonder.

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that shows awareness of, and respect for, the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which a meeting or event is to take place. The purpose of the statement is to recognise the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country.

Acknowledging the Country where a meeting or gathering takes place demonstrates respect for the living Traditional Owners and their ancestors who have and continue to live on, care for and sustain the Australian lands and waters, long before colonisation.

Our reconciliation journey

We have taken steps in our reconciliation journey at Sonder with the development of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), an Innovate RAP.

Our Innovate RAP guides and directs our commitment to reconciliation outcomes from May 2021 – May 2023 and supports us in working towards our shared vision for reconciliation –

Better Care, Better Health & Better Access through a culturally safe workplace that builds understanding, respect, and shared responsibility along with community leadership.

Sageran Naidoo, CEO at Sonder said,

As a leading provider of health care in South Australia, we feel strongly about improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and removing barriers to accessing quality, culturally appropriate services.

“One of the key actions from our RAP is to build respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and to demonstrate an overt administration for the abilities, qualities, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a way that speaks against past wrongs and acknowledges the strengths of their cultures, histories, knowledge, and rights.”

To demonstrate commitment to this key action and continue our projection of progress towards supporting reconciliation, we have developed a new Acknowledgement of Country statement.

Consultation process

To re-develop our Acknowledgement of Country statement, a rigorous consultation process took place, involving Sonder’s Aboriginal Health Reference Group, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, clients and community members, led by our RAP Project Team.

The RAP Project Team consulted with individuals to seek feedback on the previous iteration of Sonder’s Acknowledgement of Country statement which read –

Sonder acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia, and we pay respect to the Elders past and present with whom we share this great country.

Those involved in the consultation process suggested that the statement lacked meaning and authenticity and should be revised to demonstrate more profound respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and better portray Sonder’s commitment to reconciliation actions.

Following a thorough co-design process, we are proud to release our new Acknowledgement of Country statement which reads –

Sonder acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia. We pay respect to them, their cultural and spiritual heritage, and to Elders past, present, and emerging. We acknowledge the ongoing impact of intergenerational trauma that has occurred since colonisation and commit to truth-telling as we walk alongside them towards reconciliation.

The consultative process which resulted in the development of our new statement is a testament to Sonder’s commitment to embedding community leadership into decision-making processes and has led to the release of a new statement that demonstrates an authentic representation of all the voices that form Sonder.

The new statement includes unique, meaningful themes such as acknowledging the ongoing impact of intergenerational trauma that has occurred since colonisation – a strong and important message which reaffirms Sonder’s commitment to truth-telling.

Sonder’s new Acknowledgement of Country statement will feature together with the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags across many print and digital applications and will become a staple prelude for meetings and events.

Frank Newchurch, Outreach Worker in Sonder’s Closing the Gap Integrated Team Care program expressed his thoughts on the launch of the revised statement,

I’m proud to have been a part of the working group which has led to the development of our new Acknowledgement of Country statement. I think it is a big improvement on the statement we had previously which was a little too generic. To me, our new statement is strong, powerful, and most importantly, truthful.

To learn more about the actions which we are working towards to support our Reconciliation vision at Sonder, visit sonder.net.au/reconciliation-action-plan