Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Modified on Tue, 17 Oct 2023 at 11:12 AM

This information is designed to support people who coordinate, manage and lead volunteers in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by providing introductory knowledge to better understand Culture, access reliable information and appropriately work with Community.


To build on these resources it is essential to continue to do the work of listening, learning and being an active supporter of Community. Transparency, honesty and being genuine are keys to long lasting relationships.


Non-Indigenous volunteer-involving organisations should look to build principles of Aboriginal self determination into ways of working and program delivery. This includes ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are involved in program design and decision-making on services which affect them. Contact your local Aboriginal Community to gather information about your local area.



Acknowledgement of Country
We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we stand. We extend this acknowledgement to all First Nations Peoples and recognise the importance of their connection to place and community on these lands and pay our respects to Elders, past, and present.


History
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been the custodians of these lands for thousands of generations. They govern, care and maintain country through their own systems and protocols; conducting business and custodianship with direction from Elders and knowledge holders and keepers. Through these practices Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the longest-living and continuous culture in the world.


Background and context
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have experienced prolonged exclusion from Australian history and for many years, Australian democracy. The recent history of dispossession and colonisation lies at the crux of inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Australians today.

We strongly recommend learning and understanding these histories and experience, and promoting the important knowledge and cultural practices, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

For volunteer involving organisations, educating your staff and volunteers on these histories, experiences and practices will not only build the cultural knowledge of your organisation but help to create culturally safe and inclusive environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This is a key foundation in developing relationships and forming genuine connections as well as the bonus of learning about the oldest living culture in the world.

If you are interested in learning more about the rich histories and cultural practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, please follow the links below:

AIATSIS:
https://aiatsis.gov.au/


Reconciliation Australia:
https://www.reconciliation.org.au/reconciliation/what-is-reconciliation/ 


Volunteering and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture

The word volunteering often does not reflect other cultures' representation of supporting or helping. In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, volunteering is often associated with formal settings or as part of an external organisation. The terms giving, sharing, and supporting are concepts that are part of the cultural practices and the act of supporting members of the community is often considered a part of life and not seen as a separate act or system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have very high volunteering rates connected with community support and cultural practices of giving, sharing and supporting.




First Nations Cultural Resources - PDF Guides

These resources have been produced in partnership between Aunty Barbara O’Neill and Graham Toomey, and The Centre for Volunteering. 

Resource topics and insights have been informed by both The Centre for Volunteering’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and non-Indigenous members of the NSW volunteering sector.


Developed through a co-design process with Aunty Barb and Graham, the resources seek to ensure that non-Indigenous volunteer-involving organisations are well placed to understand, support, engage and build strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.



Resource Listing:



Sensitivity Warning:

These resources may be confronting for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Please consider your own capacity to engage with these topics when using this resource.



Engaging First Nations People as Volunteers - Tip Sheet

A handy list of tips for engaging First Nations Peoples in volunteering has been developed by Volunteering SA & NT.


Engaging First Nations People as Volunteers



 

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