Celebrity Gossips

Kyle Sandilands Criticizes Overuse of Welcome to Country Acknowledgements

Radio personality Kyle Sandilands recently expressed his frustrations over the frequent use of Welcome to Country acknowledgements, arguing that their impact has been diluted due to overuse. The 52-year-old shock jock shared his thoughts following the State of Origin opener on Wednesday, where Savannah Fynn acknowledged the traditional owners of the land before Australian Idol’s Dylan Wright performed a unique country rendition of the national anthem.

During Thursday’s Kyle and Jackie O Show, Sandilands and co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson discussed the mixed reactions to Wright’s rendition of the anthem. While both hosts praised the individual performances, Sandilands took the opportunity to voice his concerns about the commercialization and frequent inclusion of Welcome to Country acknowledgements at various events.

“People are s***canning the Welcome to Country because it’s overused and lost its impact,” Sandilands stated. He believes that the powerful and emotional meaning of the acknowledgement has been undermined by its frequent use by corporations and at sporting events.

The radio host argued that the acknowledgment has become more of a routine than a significant cultural practice. “People get annoyed now rather than getting immersed into the culture and making them feel spiritually aware,” he lamented. “I think that’s sad, it’s so overused, it’s pathetic. They’ve ruined the message from the Aboriginals by using it on Qantas, Foxtel, at the football.”

Kyle SandilandsKyle Sandilands

Kyle Sandilands suggested that the Welcome to Country should always be a profound and moving experience. “A Welcome to Country from the Indigenous folks who live here, that have always lived here, should be an extremely powerful, emotional, and spiritual feeling,” he added.

Jackie ‘O’ Henderson agreed with Sandilands, acknowledging that the frequent use of Welcome to Country acknowledgements in commercial settings has diluted their significance. “It’s lost its powerful meaning,” she concurred.

Traditionally, a Welcome to Country is performed by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander custodian at the beginning of an event or ceremony to welcome attendees to their land. The practice is meant to honor the traditional owners and pay respect to their ongoing connection to the land.

Savannah Fynn received praise from viewers for her respectful acknowledgment of the traditional owners at the State of Origin opener, as well as for expressing pride in her Dubbo roots. Despite the positive reception, Sandilands’ critique underscores a broader conversation about the balance between honoring cultural practices and avoiding their over-commercialization.

Kyle Sandilands’ comments have sparked a debate about the appropriate use of Welcome to Country acknowledgements. Some argue that frequent use helps to normalize and respect Indigenous cultures, while others, like Sandilands, feel that overuse can strip the practice of its intended significance.

As this discussion continues, it remains to be seen whether there will be a shift in how and when Welcome to Country acknowledgements are incorporated into public and commercial events. For now, Sandilands’ remarks have certainly brought attention to the issue, prompting many to reflect on the cultural importance and appropriate use of this significant practice.


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