Develop cultural competence
Acknowledgement of country
In accordance with Aboriginal cultural
protocol I would like to acknowledge the
traditional descendants on whose land we
stand today.
• To provide knowledge and understanding of
issues affecting Australian Indigenous societies
and cultures, and
• Provide information to assist in affective
communication with Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples
Introduction Koori way
• First name
• Family name
• Origins
Aboriginal Flag
Torres Strait Islander Flag
Revisiting the Past
What is culture?
• What are some of it’s components?
Cultural awareness
Awareness of cultures,
Reflection of own bias
Connection with your own culture
Cultural competence
Applying knowledge, values and skills
that respect and consider a persons
cultural background and beliefs when
doing your work.
Cultural safety
The feeling or sense of safety that the
client experiences when in contact
with the service.
People are empowered to make
comment on their care, access an
environment where their values and
attitudes are respected and have
involvement in how the service is
Creating a culturally safe
Messages in the environment
Visual welcomes
Colours of the day exercise
Within every cultural group there is
diversity. Don’t assume everyone is
the same.
What is culture?
Understanding Aboriginal Culture
To understand Aboriginal people you need an
awareness of their traditional and cultural belief
Even though some Aboriginal people today live
in a contemporary society they still retain the
respect and observance of the traditional belief
Torres Strait Islander culture
Ailan Kastom (Island Custom)
Torres Strait
The Dreaming
• To Aboriginal people "The Dreaming" is
the on going process of birth, life and
death. Even in death a person returns to
our place of Spiritual Dreaming.
• Aboriginal people do not view the
Dreamtime and Dreaming as separate
entities but as one, it is a continuous
The Dreaming cont ….
Occupation, Tribes and Languages
• Aboriginal people have occupied Australia for
over 60,000 years.
• They are the oldest Indigenous race in the
• There are over 500 different tribal groups
consisting of 750 Aboriginal dialects.
Aboriginal Language Map
Torres Strait Islands
• Each group has its own clearly defined territory
recognised by all its members.
• Held in sacred trust from generation to
generation and respected.
• Traditional occupiers of the land knew intimately
its physical features.
• Animals, plant life and water resources were
• Each group had its own laws based on the
Land Management
Moiety (Marriage Laws)
Dance, Song, Stories, Art
Lore versus Law
Terra Nullius
• Australia was settled under the assumption of
Terra Nullius.
• The reasoning for this idea is because
Aboriginal people did not cultivate land in
accordance with land tenure and it was
assumed Aboriginal people did not have a law
system in place that was equal to that of
British Common Law.
Land Belonging to No-one
• Terra nullius is a Latin term for ‘land
belonging to no-one’.
• According to international law of
Europe in the late 18th century, there
were only three ways that Britain could
take possession of another country.
18th Century European Law
• If the country was uninhabited
• Ceded/Succession – Treaty
• Invasion or conquest
Impact of Colonisation
Introduction of Diseases.
Disruption to Aboriginal Economics.
Decimation of Aboriginal Traditional
Way of Life.
• Loss of Land and Sacred Sites.
• Loss of Lore and Law.
Protecting the Natives
Aboriginal Protection Board
Living Under the ACT
• Life revolved around efforts to control or civilise Aboriginal people
• First Victorian established near Geelong 1836
• 1860 almost all Indigenous people in Victoria were placed on
• Some missions were run as successful enterprises until pressure
from the surrounding settlers for farming and agricultural pursuits
resulted in parts of missions being sold off.
• In 1886 legislation was passed preventing any ‘half castes’ (mixed
blood) under the age of 34 from being allowed on missions. This
legislation resulted in a reduction in the available workforce and
also reduced the number of residents; both of these led to a point
where mission closure could be justified, releasing further land for
• This resulted in Indigenous Australians being placed in the few
remaining missions.
Day 2
‘Bringing Them Home’ DVD
“Bringing Them Home” DVD complied as part
of The National Inquiry into the removal of
Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander children.
Please be advised that there may be images
and testimonies that may be upsetting for some
people, also some of the images shown may be
of people who have passed away.
How do you feel after watching this video?
What are some of the reasons you feel like this?
Were you aware of the information in video?
What was the most thought provoking part?
Any general comments?
Living standards and social indicators
Where are we now?
Brainstorm areas where Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples are disadvantaged.
What positive impact can your work place have
on any of these?
2006 population stats
Common Myths
Colour of skin
Showing respect and courtesy
Offensive Terms
• Gone walkabout
• Full blood, half cast
• Insulting words – Boong, abo, Coon,
• aboriginal or indigenous (lower case)
• Sacred sites and ceremonies
• Aborigine
Understand and learn about history
Participate in local Indigenous Community and cultural
activities and events
• Survival Day – 26 January
• National Reconciliation Week – 26 May to 3 June
• National Sorry Day – 26 May
• Mabo Day – 3 June
• NAIDOC Week – the first full week of July
• National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day – 4 August
More information about these dates and others can be gained
from the NAIDOC website, Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
website, VACCHO and Koorie Heritage Trust.
Respect Cultural needs and differences
Examine your own cultural values, beliefs and practices
Undertake cross cultural training
Visual communication should be used
Be mindful of gender when relating with Indigenous clients
Recognise the significance of first meetings
Recognise the significance of family ties and community
• Be aware that Indigenous people have differing grieving
• Use inclusive verbal communication strategies
Inclusive verbal communication
• Don’t use jargon.
• Consider tone of voice and try not to sound
• Never talk down to people, make suggestions rather
than give direction.
• Silence does not necessarily mean that an Indigenous
person hasn’t understood what has been said.
• Indigenous people are very polite so at times when a
person says ‘yes’ to something it doesn’t always mean
they will follow through. It may be that they don’t have a
polite way to say ‘no’.
Consultation and Community
Engaging with Indigenous
Community Consultation
Develop a relationship with the
Indigenous Community
Visit workers and meet them in their work places
Visit Indigenous clients in their communities
Make use of local Indigenous services
Participate in cultural activities and events
Be transparent about work practices – esp referrals
Ensure that relationships have a reciprocal benefit
Do not instruct Indigenous services or their staff on how to do their work
Mainstream workers and organisations should not take a position of
authority on Indigenous communities and culture defer to local knowledge
9. Seek out a cultural mentor/advisor
10.Look for ways for your organisation to develop an organisational
relationship with Indigenous organisations
Recognise the value of Indigenous
• Respect and recognise cultural knowledge as a
valuable professional asset
• Acknowledge the therapeutic benefit of
Indigenous work practices with Indigenous
Culturally Safe Environment
Culturally appropriate service delivery has 3
Cultural awareness – education, reflection,
connecting with own culture.
Cultural competence – applying above
knowledge, values and skills.
Cultural safety – the feeling or sense of safety
that the client experiences when in contact with
the service.
Cultural safety
• The message the environment sends –
physical space, communication techniques
used, recognition of land, Indigenous names??
• Create a visual welcome – use Koori media,
pamphlets, books, maps, murals, health
posters, careful with art
An option
Community Resources
Link with Indigenous community organisations and
It is advised that people further explore history by
contacting and visiting the websites or premises of the:
• Koorie Heritage Trust:
• The Australian Museum – ‘Indigenous Australia’:
• Indigenous Land Council:

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