Image courtesy of wix images
If I don't belong to another culture, do I have the right to talk on behalf of that culture?
There is one simple answer, NO.
Studying a mob as opposed to being one of the mob is different. You can show great empathy you can be so invested in that culture and adore it, but to truly understand and speak for that culture you must be that culture. To tell people (even people from that culture) about their culture and what they can and can't do is wrong. Only people from that culture know their cultural struggles and their highlights because they are that culture and have a right to speak for that culture.
People can walk away from that particular culture or study they are a part of, but we cant, we are that culture, even if we walk away it's always who we are.
The reason I'm saying this is because I've had enough of people getting credit writing about Aboriginal culture as if they are the experts. Yes they may possess a great knowledge... but... they are not our culture.
Empower us and teach our people how to write about our culture. We are the experts in our culture. Our culture is not dead or gone as it is taught.
Our culture is deep within us, we just don't share it. Why? because there are people who steal our knowledge and get rich off books or medicine or scholarly papers etc. I gave an example of this in my first blog "The truth about Aboriginal culture".
Non Aboriginal people need to stop telling us what we can and can't do in or with our culture.
Our mobs have asked for resourcing since I can remember. It's always twisted then presented as we want nothing but money.
Well, hold up........... you need money or resources to teach the mob and to write our own books and to teach other people about our culture. So I guess that means , Yes we need money.
What we don't need, is to be micromanaged and have Non Aboriginal people holding the purse strings like we are children and have them tell us what we can and can't do, or what we can and can't teach about our culture.
Gif courtesy of GIPHY
We have the right to be Empowered to be in charge of our culture.
Hell... we will make mistakes.
We need people to support us on the side lines, to guide us if we are uncertain about something and people who possess skills we don't, like publishing, how to write books, marketing etc. That's when people could step in and step up to assist not dictate to us, like saying "No that's unnecessary at the moment".
This is my rant because the non Aboriginal people and culturally uneducated people in management in my mob are dictating to us and controlling and censoring, who teaches and writes what. If it doesn't meet with their agenda and their control you are canned.
Image courtesy of GIPHY
If your not canned you're pushed out with no work coming your way. Management are also causing rifts within the mob. Or should I say Lateral Violence. You apply for a particular job and get it (if you're lucky enough) you will have a specific job description. Well management change it on a whim and a fancy. They will then get you working on things that are not related to your job. Here's an example, this is a totally made up job position. Community carer. We will pretend for the sake of this example that this job description is about providing care for elders in the community /mob, providing physical care. Here is an example of what management might have you doing. The Natural Resource management crew are 1 person short, so they will get you to go out and work with them for the day. Causing you to fall behind in your work.
Ok this is a bit extreme but I can't give you a real example as it would jeopardize mob's jobs.
The workers feel bad because they cant fulfill their cultural obligation or the description of their job to look after our elders. Then community get angry because that person isn't doing their job, as it is known to the community. So the worker is left feeling overwhelmed alone angry betrayed because now they look bad to mob. Then because mob are angry they talk about it and it builds resentment and then lateral violence takes hold.
It's as if management in my mob really, really don't care about the mob.
It's all about appearance and power.
The corporation has an obligation to the community/mob and a legal duty of care to the mob and neither of these are being met.
The mob rely on the corporation to protect us and help us, yet it appears they are not following their "Duty of Care" as an Aboriginal corporation.
image by GIPHY
Our mob are to scared to speak out of place because they don't want to lose their jobs or be ostracized from culture or the rest of the mob.
Cultural Duty of care.
Aboriginal Cultural Capability as defined by
As defined by the Victorian Public Sector Commision. Quote "Cultural capability is a broad term that encompasses cultural awareness, cultural safety and cultural competence. Cultural capability is not achieved after one training session or at a single end-point but represents continuous learning that builds over time.
Cultural awareness means being aware of, and developing sensitivity to, cultural difference and cultural diversity. It involves knowledge, attitudes and values that demonstrate an openness and respect for other people and other cultures, languages, religions, dress, communication styles and so on. For example, in some Aboriginal cultures it may be considered rude or disrespectful to make eye contact, while in others it is not.1
Cultural safety is an environment which is safe for Aboriginal people, where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity and experience. Cultural safety is about individuals, organisations and systems being aware of the impact of their own culture and cultural values on Aboriginal people, while creating and maintaining an environment where all people are treated in a culturally respectful manner.........................."
Quote "Cultural Competency
Cultural competency is a set of behaviours, attitudes and policies that come together to allow people to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. It is best understood as something people move towards along a continuum rather than a point in time achievement. See VACCA Building Respectful Partnerships 2010 (PDF, 1.8mb).
This diagram draws from work done by VACCA for the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Framework and Muriel Bamblett’s Keynote Speech at SNAICC 2007 National Conference in Adelaide, which in turn drew from work by Terry Cross of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (US).
Cultural Capability Training
Cultural capability training is an integral part of workplace health and safety and is essential for enabling cultural safety in the workplace. Cultural capability training should be ongoing rather than just done once. There are many aspects to cultural capability training, such as: cultural awareness, cultural competency and unconscious bias.
Many Victorian Aboriginal organisations provide cultural training. Try to choose a local Aboriginal training provider who has knowledge of local Aboriginal history and culture. You should contact your local Traditional Owners or Local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) to discuss training options. Some organisations have Traditional Owner Settlement Agreements and therefore must seek training through appropriate Traditional Owners.
Questions for managers and workplaces when building cultural capability:
What strategies have you put in place to build cultural competency and cultural safety for your staff and the Aboriginal people working within your area/organisation?
Has your team completed any cultural awareness/cultural competency training?
Does your team celebrate significant Aboriginal cultural events?
Do you identify and challenge inappropriate behaviours in others and create a safe space for Aboriginal staff to report if required?
Do you understand what is expected of you in responding to racism, discrimination and cultural abuse?" End quote.
Looks like my mob's corporation are still at no.1
Where is our cultural safety?When our own corporation is engaging in physical abuse, provoking lateral violence, micromanagement, Cultural Dictatorship, intimidation, bullying, deception, theft and sexism just to name a few.
I've spoken to so many mob who aren't happy because of the way the corporation is running this like a non Aboriginal Organisation. The mob wont speak out through fear of being ostracized or losing their jobs.
That's why I'm writing these things, to give my mob a voice and to speak out about the truth. If this is going on in my mob then what is happening in other mobs. Where's their voice?
These blogs are not for personal gain, this isn't about me getting a job or being on the board or getting my mob to publish my bush tucker and medicine book, because I don't want anything to do with the corporation they are culturally corrupt. This is to bring cultural life back to the mob. To restore cultural balance back to the mob and to give them a voice.
Below you will find an example of a concept I have developed to support the mob, but there will be many others from the mob who have deadly (meaning really really awesome) ideas on how to support the mob.
This is my concept/dream for our mob and many of the mob have loved the concept. It is only a concept and has been provided based on some feedback given by some of the mob.
Example of CULTURAL CONCEPT FOR SUPPORT OF THE MOB
I'm developing Aboriginal education packs and a really deadly (deadly means better than awesome) *ref 01 bush tucker and medicine book (different to what's currently available) to sell and if I get a great response and make enough money, it is going into a Trust fund or something (except a small portion as my wage).
I'll use the bush tucker and medicine book money, to empower the mob.
Creating youth programs to connect them into their identity through their culture. With paid mob teachers teaching.
Paying other mob members to write up project ideas for the mob.
Employ mob members to research relevant historical data and sciences to back our culture from scientific perspectives.
Employ relevant people and mob to research and back our culture with scientific evidence to prove the benefits of our culture in current day
Vendors term housing. Where the house is paid off by the weekly payments paying off the home total with no interest.
Invest in a medical precinct for Aboriginal health. Run by medical professionals to teach medical students the many differences in Aboriginal health and provide Aboriginal specific and targeted health services.
a. Purchase a very large property right on a major road. At the front entrance there will be shops stocking "All things Aboriginal".
b. Then there will be accommodation units for tourists to stay in.
c. Then there will be a teaching area where any Aboriginal person can come and do paid teaching and stay in the Teaching houses for free .
d. Next will be the main building where there is an eatery and huge kitchen area. This is where Aboriginal people learning to be chef's or Aboriginal people wanting to cook Aboriginal meals, can cook and it can be available for sale at the eatery.
The cook or person wanting to start this up as a business (cooking and selling
Aboriginal tucker) would be trained in all areas' of business by professional teaching
e. The food for the kitchen would be gathered from a large vegetable patch. There will
be areas' where bush medicine and bush tucker is grown and harvested as needed
allowing it to always be fresh.
f. Perhaps meat such as Kangaroo, Emu, Goanna, wombat etc would be grown on the
property for food, culture, bush tucker, medicines, cosmetics, etc.
g. There would also be an events area in the building where conferences, dinners,
receptions, weddings etc could be held.
h. There will be a sectioned off area down the back of the property where Aboriginal
people who have finished teaching and want to practice culture undisturbed and in
private can do so. That's including their families.
i. There will also be course certificates, for example
responsible serving of alcohol,
workplace training and assessment
as well as many others.
That's what I want to do, that's my dream.
Mob empowering Mob.
This is how it should be done.
That's it for this blog. Please join me in my other blogs to find out more about "The truth about Aboriginal culture".
*ref 01 refers to the bush tucker and medicine book:
my corporation are not supporting me with this and have currently cut me out of anything to do with bush tucker and medicine. They formed a group for bush tucker and medicine and did not ask me to be a part of it even after I enquired about it.
So i'm doing the book totally independently but with the support and backing of mob. Those who know about it at least, as i have no way to get this out to the broader mob.
Thank you for joining me and I hope you come back have a real deadly day.
Deadly in our lingo means real good or really really good.