Why attend Indigenous led public events?
Attending an Indigenous led public event is a great opportunity to come together with an open heart and mind, as a first step towards building relationship and moving towards a better future for all Australians. Many Indigenous led events offer the opportunity to:
- Meet local Indigenous people
- Listen to Indigenous people and learn about Indigenous culture and history
- Show respect towards Indigenous people by honouring dates of significance to Indigenous communities
- Show support for Indigenous communities by taking interest in issues that are important to Indigenous people
- Contribute to a sense of togetherness - recognising our connectedness as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, understanding another’s reality, validating their concerns and experiences and recognising that our freedoms (or lack thereof) are interlinked
- Explore what a shared Australian identity could look like - one that takes honest account of our shared history, celebrates Indigenous people and culture and embraces all people living on this land today.
Local is best
We recommend starting locally. Engaging locally highlights your direct connection to our shared story, both historically and today. Starting locally also tends to be more accessible both geographically and financially, with greater potential for long-term relationship. Engaging locally shows that you recognise the value of Indigenous people in your immediate community, and can provide a helpful introduction to working alongside Indigenous communities.
How to find Indigenous led events
Indigenous led events happen throughout the year, often coinciding with significant dates in the Indigenous calendar. A great place to find out about local events is checking your council website, particularly around National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC week. You might also find Indigenous led events on January 26th (known to many Indigenous people as Survival or Invasion Day).
Community noticeboards, Facebook pages, local newspapers and magazines are a good place to look for upcoming events. You can also check out your nearest museum or art gallery, which often have Indigenous exhibitions and guided museum and gallery tours, or search for local Indigenous community groups who may offer cultural tours or presentations.
If you live in a capital city, check city events websites for festivals specifically celebrating Indigenous people and culture, such as Melbourne's Tanderrum festival or Adelaide's Tarnanthi festival. Look for National Reconciliation Week Events here and NAIDOC week events here.
Tips for attending events
Before you attend:
- Check your expectations - set an intention to show up first and foremost to listen and learn
- Recognise that the size and budget of events varies greatly. It’s good to keep in mind that some events are organised by volunteers, while others are larger and more formal. If you’d like to find out more about a particular event, speak to the organiser so you know what to expect when you turn up.
- Don’t presume that you’ll meet an Indigenous person at an event. Some events are quite small and may only have a few Indigenous people attending.
When you’re there:
- Listen and observe and open your heart and mind to hearing about other ways of experiencing the world.
- As you talk with various people - here’s some ideas to kick off the conversation: - “Why did you choose to attend today?” - “Do you know of any groups, education opportunities, cultural tours or local Aboriginal organisations in this area?” - “Do you know of any opportunities to get involved locally?” - “Do you know any local cultural stories that I can learn about or places I can visit?”
- Consider similarities in your own life or experience that might connect with what’s being presented or discussed.
- Follow up any contacts that were open to further conversation.
- Consider how the things you learned and experienced may affect any groups you’re part of (sports clubs, church, workplace, school).
- Tell people about what you learned and experienced.
- Send us an email to share your experience with us! firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attending an event is a good first step. But coming together for a better future isn't about a one off event - it’s an ongoing process. Keep listening and learning and seeking better ways to live together.