10 July 2013

Learning about Australian Aboriginals & Naidoc Week

Last week the company I work for sent me in a "Cultural Awareness" training course, for half a day to learn about Aboriginal history and culture. It is a compulsory training for all 12,000 employees working for our organisation regardless of which area of the business you work in. This is because our employer does a lot of work in and around the most remote parts of Australia and within many aboriginal communities. 


With Naidoc Week taking place this week I thought it was great timing for me to write a quick post to share about my learning. NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in July each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.


The most shocking and disconcerting fact I learnt during the course is that Aboriginals were not recognised as Human Beings in Australia until 1967. They were classified under the Fauna & Flora Act. I haven't heard anything as crual as this in a very long time. I pain to believe that the fist world country that has welcomed so many nationalities over the past 100 years could have been so intolerant and racist for such a long period of time. It's also sad that the oldest continuous culture on Earth almost got eradicated because of our fear of difference. Aboriginals represents only 2.6% of the population of Australia, their native land...

The second terrible thing I learnt is that Aboriginal health standards in Australia are now so low that almost half of Aboriginal men and over a third of women die before they turn 45.Tragic unspoken reality of a first world country. Did you know that according to the United Nations, the quality of life of Aboriginal people is the second worst of the planet—only China rates worse. 

It is time to close the gap and to go forward. Together. Open your mind and your heart and contribute to reconciliation by challenging racist behaviours within your own community. 


Do you celebrate Naidoc Week?
Have you ever witnessed racism?


Images credit
1, 2, 4. naidoc.org.au
3. NSW Aboriginal Land Council
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