"As young people on Cummeragunja Mission we didn't think of ourselves as "Aboriginal". Life on Cummeragunja and other missions or reserves was our Aboriginal world. In my childhood eyes it was an idyllic place. The town, which represented the world on the other side of the Murray River, was somewhat irrelevant. However, when we went across the river to the white community, suddenly we were thrown into a foreign place where we had to learn new norms.
Learning the norms of the foreign culture became imperative for us. We had to build survival skills. Best practice in cultural competency had to be part and parcel of how Aboriginal people, families and communities lived. Over time for our community, and many others, cultural competency became a matter of survival. It's a constant, daily negotiation of life.
From going to buy a bottle of milk in the morning, to watching the news at night, Aboriginal people have had to fight to retain their sense of space and place. We are deafened by the noise of assimilation in all aspects of community life; conformity is an expected response.
"The problem was that cultural competency was always a one-way street."
The problem was that cultural competency was always a one-way street. I hear frequently that Aboriginal Australians should just get on with it. But there is a responsibility for the Australian people to be informed and involved. Aboriginal history in all its sophistication and complexity is still not respectfully recognised nor taught in schools. It is a matter of urgency to address our great national deficit; namely the lack of understanding and poor access to information and knowledge which would combat generational stereotyping of Indigenous people."
- Paul Briggs, May 2012
The Yarrwul Nyuwandan Social Inclusion project was led by Yorta Yorta Nation with research, policy and administration support from the Kaiela Institute.
The project aimed to: