Attending cultural awareness training is common practice across Government and the private sector, but what can we take away from it?
At Cube, we asked ourselves this question after a powerful session on Aboriginal culture and Australian history, led by Leon Egan (Bundyi Giilang Training). Leon emphasised that we should strive to walk together with Aboriginal community: side by side, with a shared understanding of the past, present and future.
An important step in achieving this is acknowledging some truths.
The first truth is the gap in our understanding of Aboriginal culture and the history of our country. As a public school kid growing up in the 1990s, I never received an education about the world’s oldest living culture. Aboriginal culture was never promoted, with the exception of peering at boomerangs and digeridoos without context. Australia’s policy history or the Stolen Generations were never discussed. There is no question that our true history has been glossed over in favour of jingoism. We’ve seen recently that challenging the mainstream historical narrative is still contentious.
The second truth is that colonialism is still pervasive and is visible in how we govern, our policies and our institutions. You only need to look to the over-representation of Aboriginal people in our justice systems to see it. It is clear in the lack of Indigenous recognition. It is there when we express entitlement to climb all over important Aboriginal landmarks. The language of colonialism is still alive in how we talk about Aboriginal people.
The third truth is about the role non-Indigenous people play in maintaining the status quo. We often do not recognise our own privilege and in taking this for granted, we miss an opportunity to challenge policies, systems and institutions that discriminate and leave people behind. While progress is being made toward Aboriginal recognition, there is still a reluctance to simply listen and let Aboriginal people lead this change.
We’ve got an opportunity – and an obligation – to deeply reflect on what we can do to support Aboriginal justice and the aspirations of Indigenous communities.
Inspired by the work of Clare Land and ANTAR Victoria (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation), here are some ways Cube will commit to walking together:
- We will seek out Aboriginal voices and listen with empathy and without judgement
- We will take leadership and ownership over our education on our history, Aboriginal culture and aspirations and we will share our learning with others
- We will question our privilege and use our role working with Government and community to speak up when we see an opportunity to do better
- We will work to promote the voice and aspirations of Aboriginal people on their terms, without paternalism
Cube Group are looking forward to embracing these principles across our business, continuing our journey of listening and learning.
Cube Group would like to thank Leon Egan (Bundyi Giilang Training). If you’d like to find out more about Leon’s fantastic Aboriginal cultural training, get in touch via LinkedIn