If you missed our last post on Reconciliation Week 2022, you can find it here for full details on the theme for this week – Be Brave. Make Change.
We know that many of you want to engage with, support and show solidarity with our Aboriginal and Indigenous community – but might be unsure how to or what you can do that will make a difference.
Sometimes we get so focused on wanting to make a big difference we forget about all the small ways we can encourage and create change.
The theme for NRW 2022 is a fantastic opportunity to rethink what change looks like, the actions we can take, and how we can all be a little braver to keep making this happen.
Here are ten ways to get you started:
1. Call out racism when you can.
It’s not always easy, but sometimes it can be as simple as asking people around you not to use certain words or phrases that you know are racist or disrespectful.
Think about how you would like others to talk about you, ensure you do the same, and call out or report others who don’t do the same.
2. Educate yourself on traditional place names and use them.
It’s one thing to know the traditional names of the land you live and study on, but what else could you do to keep these names alive?
Have you thought about including them in your address when sending and receiving mail? Or when someone asks you where you live, stating the traditional name of the land you live on? How do your school or community groups acknowledge these names?
This small but powerful gesture can go a long way to creating positive change.
3. Hold your school or community groups accountable.
How does your school or the community groups you’re a part of acknowledge reconciliation week all year round? Do they have a group of students whose role is to prioritise and promote Aboriginal and Indigenous voices, events, and reconciliation activities?
Speak to your teachers and start the conversation; what more could we be doing?
4. Support Blak businesses.
A great way to make change is to support blak and indigenous-owned businesses. Across Australia, hundreds of start-ups and businesses showcase some amazing products and services that we should all get behind.
You can find out more by clicking through to Buy Bla(c)k Owned the next time you need to do some shopping.
5. Champion diversity, inclusion and the different voices in the room.
First Nations people make up just 3% of the Australian population – having a voice, a say, and being included openly in conversations that matter can be increasingly difficult for them.
Stepping up and asking how the groups, schools, and workplaces you’re a part of are creating space for First nations voices and inviting them to be a part of the conversation is a vital step in the right direction.
6. Acknowledge country.
Wherever you are in Australia, you’re on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land, and it’s important to know whose Country you’re on.
Displaying Country names on buildings, offices, and even homes is also a great way to keep this reminder in everyone’s minds and show that you care about the land you’re on and its history.
7. Find out how you can be a good ally.
There are lots of ways to be a good ally, and small steps can make a significant difference over time.
Knowing how to be an accomplice isn’t always easy, and it often involves disrupting the status quo – something lots of people are afraid to do.
Understanding the injustices across our communities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an excellent way to get started. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the most incarcerated people globally, proportionally.
8. Support local events and projects.
Whether it’s love music, art shows, plays, dances, talks, workshops – or anything else! – supporting local Aboriginal and Indigenous events and projects sends a clear message that these things are important and valued within your local community.
It’s also a great way to keep learning, growing, and boosting your own education about these groups locally and their work.
9. Support local languages.
Language is a vital part of cultural identity – and many Aboriginal languages were forbidden to be spoken, resulting in the loss of these ancient dialects.
There are around 800 dialects from more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. You can help by knowing your local area language(s) of the Traditional Custodians of the land you live on.
10. Stay open and educated.
Making change in the long term has to start with who we are as individuals – we can’t help to create change outwardly if we’re still stuck on outdating ideas, unconscious bias or a lack of education.
Be discerning in how you approach learning about the cultural history of Australia, and make sure you rely on reliable sources of information as you embark or continue on your own education journey. There is always more to learn, and we can make great progress by embracing the fact that most of us are beginners on these knowledge journeys.
Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is acknowledge how little you know or how you’ve gotten some things wrong in the past to start building your knowledge for the future.
Beyond NRW 2022
NRW should only be a gentle reminder of how we can all do our bit to support reconciliation nationally across Australia.
See this list as a set of jumping off points – find your own place to start, and then:
Be Brave. Make Change.