As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers we are expected to work through a cultural lens in western systems and frameworks. This impacts us emotionally and spiritually, we are employed by the western system for our knowledge and expertise on engaging and connecting with Aboriginal communities but are offered no ongoing cultural support in the process. The expectation is we provide our expertise and our community connections that need a specific way of working and adjust all of that and squish it into a western framework. Generally this is one Aboriginal worker in a stream of western workers.
Even as workers, Aboriginal people are not exempt from the systematic racism, ongoing oppression, cultural genocide, inter-generational trauma, and everyday social media racism / discrimination, lateral violence and struggling with cultural identity.
The ongoing challenges of this causes worker burnout through systems failure, high staff turn over for services and ongoing stress for employees, the fallout is Aboriginal workers get labeled with names that are not justified.
Mainstream services whom receive Aboriginal funding have a responsibility to ensure their Aboriginal workers have safety, cultural safety and ongoing support through the challenges faced walking and working in two worlds. Offering genuine support to your Aboriginal workers include:
- every 6 weeks of cultural supervision
- all employees having an understanding of inter-generational trauma
- all employees understanding the concepts of lateral violence
- all employees having an understanding of the differences in working practices
- white privilege and how this impacts Aboriginal people on a daily basis
This is challenging for people to think about, its difficult to consider the first steps to change, taking this journey will be rewarding not only on an organisational level but also personally.