You can be part of changing the nation through your workplace. One of the most powerful ways you and your colleagues can make a difference is by increasing your awareness and understanding. Even little steps taken in the workplace can lead to a big change in our nation.
Before you do anything watch this…
Here are five things you can do in your workplace to make a difference
1. Learn about our history and Indigenous cultures today
Everyone in Australia can benefit from learning more about Australia’s shared history, Indigenous cultures, and the land that they’re on. You can do this with your colleagues by choosing learning that’s relevant to your industry or workplace. Here are some ideas to get you started:
> Explore resources and stories created by First Nations people. For example, you could host a lunchtime viewing of an Indigenous film or documentary, or you could share a short video or poem at a staff meeting. The resources and stories on our website are a great place to start.
> Learn about Indigenous perspectives related to your industry. There may be relevant conferences, workshops or training sessions that you can attend.
> Incorporate discussion or reflection around Indigenous topics or news items into your staff meetings. When looking for content to share or discuss include things that are written or produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
> Consider the inclusion of cultural learning in any professional development program your workplace schedules.
2. Share what you’ve learnt
Sharing what you’ve learnt can inspire others to learn more too. You could share what you’ve learnt internally with staff, externally through your corporate communications channels, or even with family and friends.
We’ve created an Identity and Culture activity to help you explore your own culture and share it with your colleagues. Doing this activity as a group gives you the chance to learn about the cultures of others in your workplace. You can access the worksheet here.
3. Engage with the Indigenous community in your area
There are many reasons to engage with the Indigenous community in your area. For example, you may want to learn more about local Indigenous sites, organise cultural learning for you and your colleagues or have a Traditional Custodian do a Welcome to Country at an event you’re holding.
To get in touch with the Indigenous community in your area, find out who the Traditional Custodians are and what First Nations organisations are active locally. Have a look for an Indigenous land council, community centre or cultural hub.
Listening to, learning from and developing relationships with the local community are important.
Here are some things you might do to engage:
> Attend an existing Indigenous-led event.
> Connect with a local First Nations organisation to request assistance with activities like doing a Welcome to Country, conducting a cultural awareness workshop for staff, attending a cultural centre, or contacting a consultant for cultural advice.
> Take part in a cultural experience, or incorporate one into a staff retreat or team-building day. There are many Indigenous businesses that provide different types of cultural experiences, varying from 1-hour walking tours to multi-day camping on Country experiences.
> Engage First Nations consultants and buy from Indigenous businesses. Supply Nation provides a database of Indigenous businesses.
4. Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land you work on
Acknowledging the land your workplace is on shows respect and follows a custom that’s been taking place in Australia for many thousands of years.
Learning more about the land that you’re on and consulting the Traditional Custodians can help you acknowledge Country in really meaningful ways. For example, you could:
> Place a sign at the entrance of your building that acknowledges which Indigenous nation you’re on and who the Traditional Custodians of the land are.
> Display artworks by local First Nations artists. To do this meaningfully, get to know who the artist is and what its significance is. Maybe choose something from your local First Nations community, or a piece that shows the land that you’re on.
> Include an Acknowledgement of Country in communications such as email signatures, web pages, or publications.
> Incorporate Indigenous placenames and language into your organisation. This should be done in consultation with local Traditional Custodians.
> Fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
> Include an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of events, or engage Traditional Custodians to do a Welcome to Country.
This webpage has more information about Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country.
5. Get involved throughout the year
There are significant dates throughout the year that your workplace can get involved with. For example:
> 26 January (Australia Day):
While there’s much to celebrate about Australia, for many First Nations people 26 January is a difficult day. There are many ways you can acknowledge this, and what you do will depend on your workplace.
Some workplaces have reviewed celebrations or marketing campaigns that they run around Australia Day to ensure they’re sensitive to the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for whom it’s a difficult day. Other workplaces give staff the option to work on Australia Day and take another day off instead or use the date as an opportunity to learn more about Australia’s history and why it’s a painful day for many.
> National Reconciliation Week (NRW) (27 May – 3 June):
NRW is an important annual event. It’s book-ended by two significant dates that all Australians can be proud of – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 Referendum and the 1992 High Court Mabo land rights decision.
There are many ways your workplace can get involved with NRW. You could use it as an opportunity to learn more about these two events (for example by hosting an afternoon screening of the film Mabo), attend a local NRW event, or acknowledge the week through your social media and communications channels.
> NAIDOC Week (first full week of July each year):
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You may display the NAIDOC Week poster in your workplace, attend an event with colleagues or plan one at your workplace.