Whose Responsibility is Cultural Accountability?

Over the years there has been many programs, workshops and information sessions that have been developed to increase understanding of working and / or engaging with Aboriginal peoples. To name a few; cultural awareness, cultural competency, cultural engagement, cultural connection etc. over time it was clear that people thought they could attend a half day workshop or a one day workshop and then be skilled to engage Aboriginal community.

These concepts have started to faze out, although we are still seeing them being delivered, and there is a place for them with services that are just beginning their journey. But we always need to remember its a journey and not everything Aboriginal can be learnt in a workshop, and no matter how hard you work on your educational knowing, no-one will ever be an expert in "Aboriginal". Why you ask? Because Aboriginal people, ways of living and ways of being are not something that you can fit into a western package of education.

Even if your primary clients / participants are not First Nations you should be taking the journey to change, its a service responsibility to acknowledge the past injustices, the current injustices and the ongoing impacts to First Nations peoples.

This journey starts with a knowing that your service is on stolen land, that sovereignty was never ceded, and even though you were not part of the invasion you are benefiting from the actions of that invasion.

Its a harsh truth, and non-indigenous people find this extremely difficult to come to terms with, there needs to be an overall service reflection and genuine honesty about how you engage and respond to First Nations people, but before this, you need to reflect on how you personally acknowledge the true history in Australia and how this has impacted First Nations people.

why cultural accountability? Because accountability means YOU have a responsibility to change, not just in your work life but in every aspect of your life.

So as a service what responsibility do you have to ensure your employees are educated in cultural accountability? What does your service offer to ensure that your employees practice standards are culturally safe? How is this monitored? How do you ensure that your service is up to date with cultural safety frameworks and practices?

You would NOT send a case worker out of the office with no experience in taking case notes, or without training to support their job description, these errors would not hold up in insurances claims or court proceedings. First Nations accountability should be the same level of detail and attention, not because your service would be liable in court (although depending on circumstances you could be) but because its YOUR responsibility to be accountable for the opportunities you and your employees have in Australia at the expense of first Nations health, wellbeing and human rights.

Ancestors Singing provides an intense program package for all needs, assessing your current service delivery, supporting changes and additional policies, working individually with employees, group training, ongoing support and engagement all tailored to your services practices.



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