Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Preparing to load PDF file. please wait...

0 of 0
100%
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Transcript Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples
ENGAGEMENT TOOLKIT • 2012

Contents
1  Introduction 2  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags   3  Facts and figures 4  Calendar of significant events 6  Terminology 7  Recognition and acknowledgements: Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country   10  Visual media and writing 15  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media          19  Effective engagement: Policy guidelines and rights  32  Effective engagement: Language, access and consultation 43  Further information
© Australian Human Rights Commission 2012. This work is protected by copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part may be used or reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Australian Human Rights Commission. Enquiries should be addressed to Communications Team at: [email protected] ISBN 978-1-921449-26-0 This publication can be found in electronic format on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website at: www.humanrights.gov.au/about/publications/index.html For further information about the Australian Human Rights Commission, please visit: www.humanrights.gov.au or email: [email protected] You can also write to: Communications Team Australian Human Rights Commission GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 Design and layout Jo Clark Cover photograph Spirit Fire – hand, artefact by Peter McConchie.

Introduction
The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) seeks to protect and promote the human rights of all people in Australia, including the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In order to ensure protection and promotion of human rights, the Commission aims to engage with communities. This Toolkit provides Commission staff with general information regarding engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Development and dissemination of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Toolkit is a key activity under the Commission’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Although the Toolkit is intended to be used primarily by staff, the Toolkit will be made publically available on its website. The Commission is grateful for the work of many interns and staff who developed this Toolkit.
A quick and easy guide for consultation
I. Don’t assume anything. II. Be honest and sincere. III. Use simple clear, plain and appropriate language. IV. Speak slowly if and when necessary. V. Jargon or technical language should be explained. VI. Don’t mimic Aboriginal ways of speaking, i.e.
words, slang, speech or accent. VII. Be open-minded. VIII. Never be boastful about your ideas. IX. Don’t be too direct as this can be taken as
confrontational and/or rude. X. Direct eye contact may also be considered
confrontational and/or rude. XI. Emphasise the purpose of your activity and
intended benefits to the community. XII. Don’t ask hypothetical questions. XIII. Deal in practical real issues not theoretical ideas.
Source: ‘Protocols for Consultation and Negotiation with Aboriginal People’, by Huggins, Jackie, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Development, Brisbane, QLD, 1999.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples • Engagement Toolkit 2012 • 1

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
History of the Aboriginal flag1
The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s. Gary Foley took the flag to the East Coast where it was promoted and eventually recognised as the official flag of the Australian Aboriginal people. The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. In 1995, the Australian Government proclaimed the flag as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953 (Cth). The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) are:
• Black: represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
• Red: represents the red earth, the red ochre and a spiritual relation to the land
• Yellow: represents the sun, the giver of life and protector.
When using the Aboriginal flag at Commission related meetings/conferences, please ensure that the flag is displayed in the correct manner.
History of the Torres Strait Islander flag2
The Torres Strait Islander flag was created as a symbol of unity and identity for Torres Strait Islander people, designed by the late Bernard Namok, then a 15 year old school student from Thursday Island. It was the winning entry from a design competition held as part of a Cultural Revival Workshop, organised by The Islands Coordinating Council in January 1992. It was recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in June 1992 and given equal prominence with the Aboriginal flag. In July 1995, it was recognised by the Australian Government as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953 (Cth). Each part of the flag is designed to represent something about Torres Strait Islander culture:
• Green: represents the land • Blue: represents the sea • White: represents peace • Black: represents the Indigenous peoples.
The dhari (headdress) represents Torres Strait Island people and the five pointed star represents the 5 major Island groups. The star also represents navigation, as a symbol of the seafaring culture of the Torres Strait. When using the Torres Strait Islander flag at Commission related meetings/conferences, please ensure that the flag is displayed in the correct manner.
2

Facts and figures

Face the Facts remains the Commission’s most requested publication. It was first published in 1997 and updated in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2008. An updated version will be released in 2012.
While the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) has provided important and necessary legal safeguards for victims of racism over the past 30 years, addressing racism needs to go beyond the legal framework. Publications like Face the Facts recognise the importance of education in addressing racism and the importance of ensuring that the prevailing attitudes within the community are constructed on a sound factual base.
Face the Facts draws on information from a variety of sources. The information provided includes laws made by Australian Parliaments, government policies, statistics collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and academic research. The Commission’s aim is to bring all the major issues together and present reliable information in an easy-to-read publication. It is available at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/ face_facts/index.html.
The Commission’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was developed in 2011 and will be periodically updated and renewed. The current plan is available at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/ about/rap.html. The RAP contains a number of targets to be met by all staff. The RAP is supported by a Committee of staff that can provide further information and guidance on the RAP.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice section of the Commission’s website (http://www.humanrights. gov.au/racial_discrimination/face_facts/chap1.html) provides a range of news and information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice and native title issues. There are links to the annual Social Justice and Native Title reports, the latest news releases, statistics, speeches by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, publications and resources.
There are also separate sub-sections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, the Bringing them home report and Stolen Generations, and International Indigenous rights, which provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to the ways in which Indigenous human rights are protected and promoted at the international level.
At a domestic level, the Indigenous Human Rights Network Australia (IHRNA) is a non-profit organisation started in 2009 which aims to create a national network of people who advocate for and promote the awareness of Indigenous human rights in Australia. IHRNA’s website (http://www.ihrna.info/) contains information on human rights issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today, as well as opportunities for networking and training. Their online presence is more active on Facebook and Twitter.

Close the Gap is a campaign led by a coalition of Indigenous and non-indigenous health bodies, NGOs and the Commission. It aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. There is a crisis in Indigenous health in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significantly shorter life expectancy (up to 17 years) and poorer health outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians. In 2008, the Prime Minister signed the Close the Gap coalition’s Statement of Intent to achieve health and life expectancy equality and announced a $1.6 billion financial commitment. The coalition is now working on translating this public support and political will into concrete improvements. See below ‘4 Calendar of Significant Events’ and http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/ health/index.html and http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/ indigenous-australia/close-the-gap.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (The Declaration) is a significant development in the protection and promotion of Indigenous human rights at the international level. Twenty five years in the making, it was adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2006 and the General Assembly on 13 September 2007. As a resolution, it is not legally binding under international law, but as ‘soft law’ it represents developing international legal norms and demonstrates a commitment by member states towards the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. The Declaration outlines individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including the rights to culture, identity and language, and prohibits discrimination. It sets out the principles of partnership and mutual respect that should guide the relationship between states and Indigenous peoples, and provides tools to measure the way states are respecting and implementing the rights of Indigenous peoples. Australia initially voted against the resolution with concerns about the right to self-determination (articles 3 and 4) and references to Indigenous customary law. However in 2009, Australia moved to endorse the resolution. The Commission has produced a range of materials on the Declaration, available at http://www. humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/declaration/index.html.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples is a new national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is independent from government and as an incorporated body, it is run by a board and controlled by its members. Its first elected board took office in July 2011. The National Congress advocates for the political status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and aims to work towards sovereignty and self-determination. See further: http:// nationalcongress.com.au/welcome.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples • Engagement Toolkit 2012 • 3

Calendar of significant events

January
Australia Day – Invasion Day or Survival Day
26 January
Annual events take place each year across the nation such as ‘Yabun’ in Sydney, the Survival Day Picnic on the Frankston Foreshore in Victoria, stalls and the Share the Spirit Festival in the Treasury Gardens, Victoria.
The events celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. The events showcase all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, including music, dance, food, language, politics, literature, and arts and crafts and are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
February
Anniversary of the National Apology
13 February
On 13 February 2008 the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd MP delivered his national apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government.
The apology marked an important milestone in Australia’s history. By validating the experiences of the Stolen Generations, the foundations have been laid for healing to take place and for a reconciled Australia in which everyone belongs.
March
Anniversary of the signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent on Indigenous Health Equality
20 March
The government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders signed a Statement of Intent in the Great Hall of Parliament House to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030.

April
National Close the Gap on Indigenous Health Equality Day
2 April
The day gives people the opportunity to show their support for the Close the Gap Indigenous Health Equality Campaign which calls for closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.
May
National Sorry Day
26 May
The Bringing them home report recommended (Recommendation No 7.a) that a National Sorry Day be held each year on 26 May ‘to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects’. As a result of this recommendation the community-based organisation the National Sorry Day Committee (NSDC) was formed. See www.nsdc.org.au/.
National Reconciliation Week
27 May – 3 June
National Reconciliation Week is held annually and celebrates the rich culture and history of the First Australians. National Reconciliation Week began in 1996 to provide focus for nationwide reconciliation activities.
National Reconciliation Week coincides with two significant dates in Australia’s history which provide strong symbols of the aspirations for reconciliation. May 27 marks the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and June 3 marks the anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the 1992 Mabo case.3

4

Calendar of significant events

Commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war veterans
27 May – 3 June
Ceremonies commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans’ are held in the major capital cities during Reconciliation Week. Organised by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, see http://www.dva.gov.au/benefitsAndServices/ind/ Pages/ice.aspx.
June
Mabo Day
3 June
Mabo Day is held on 3 June to celebrate Eddie Mabo, who helped overturn ‘terra nullius’ in a ten year campaign through the courts ending in the historic High Court Mabo Judgement.
July
National NAIDOC Week
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It has since taken on the acronym NAIDOC and the celebrations begin on the first Sunday in July and run for one week.
There is a national theme every year and some past NAIDOC themes include ‘Respecting our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth’ (2009), ‘Advance Australia Fair?’ (2008) and ‘Advance Australia Where?’ (1972). One of the main events of the week is the NAIDOC Ball and Awards.
The annual awards are celebrated in the national focus city and recognise the outstanding contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their communities and beyond, or to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the wider community, or the excellence they’ve shown in their chosen field.4 See http://www.naidoc.org.au/.

August
Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
The Garma Festival is held each August in Nhulunbuy, northeast Arnhem Land. Garma is a unique combination of education, entertainment and cultural interaction and exchange. For more information see the website at http://www.yyf.com.au/. Past Festival themes include Indigenous Cultural Livelihoods (2005), Indigenous knowledge: Caring for country and culture (2008), Indigenous health: Real solutions for a chronic problem (2007).
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
9 August
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People will be observed on 9 August ever year, during the first International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People.
On 16 December 2005, the General Assembly adopted the Programme of Action for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and adopted ‘Partnership for action and dignity’ as its theme. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was continued as a part of this Programme of Action. The day is observed in United Nations offices in New York, Geneva and other offices of the United Nations.
September
The Deadly Awards
The Deadly Awards are Indigenous Australia’s peak awards for music, the arts, entertainment, sport and community achievement and are presented at a function annually at the Sydney Opera House. Check the website at: http://www.deadlys. vibe.com.au/deadlys.asp

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples • Engagement Toolkit 2012 • 5

Terminology

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
For general use, the term ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ is the preferred usage.
For example, the following acknowledgement was used in the 2010 Social Justice Report by the Social Justice Commissioner.
Note: Terminology
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner recognises the diversity of the cultures, languages, kinship structures and ways of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There is not one cultural model that fits all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples retain distinct cultural identities whether they live in urban, regional or remote areas of Australia.
The word ‘peoples’ recognises that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have a collective, rather than purely individual, dimension to their lives. This is affirmed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.1
There is a growing debate about the appropriate terminology to be used when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Social Justice Commissioner recognises that there is strong support for the use of the terminology ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’, ‘First Nations’ and ‘First Peoples’.2 Accordingly, the terminology ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ is used throughout this Report.
Sources quoted in this Report use various terms including ‘Indigenous Australians’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(s)’ and ‘Indigenous people(s)’. International documents frequently use the term ‘indigenous peoples’ when referring to the Indigenous peoples of the world. To ensure consistency, these usages are preserved in quotations, extracts and in the names of documents.

Indigenous peoples
The use of the term ‘Indigenous’ has evolved through international law. It acknowledges a particular relationship of Aboriginal people to the territory from which they originate. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has explained the basis for recognising this relationship as follows:
Indigenous or aboriginal peoples are so-called because they were living on their lands before settlers came from elsewhere; they are the descendants – according to one definition – of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived, the new arrivals later becoming dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means… (I)ndigenous peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics which are clearly distinct from those of the other segments of the national populations.
Throughout human history, whenever dominant neighbouring peoples have expanded their territories or settlers from far away have acquired new lands by force, the cultures and livelihoods – even the existence – of Indigenous peoples have been endangered. The threats to Indigenous peoples’ cultures and lands, to their status and other legal rights as distinct groups and as citizens, do not always take the same forms as in previous times. Although some groups have been relatively successful, in most part of the world Indigenous peoples are actively seeking recognition of their identities and ways of life.5
For this reason, it may be appropriate in some publications and formal documents to use ‘Indigenous peoples’ in order to convey its meaning in international law.

1 GA Resolution 61/295 (Annex), UN Doc A/RES/61/295 (2007). At www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/drip.html (viewed 5 November 2010).
2 See Steering Committee for the creation of a new National Representative Body, Our future in our hands: Creating a sustainable National Representative Body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australian Human Rights Commission (2009), pp 15, 43. At www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/repbody/report2009/index. html (viewed 5 November 2010).

6

Recognition and acknowledgements: Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country

A crucial part of effectively engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is respecting country, and the strong connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to their traditional land. It is therefore important to ensure that a ‘Welcome to Country’ or ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ is done at all Commission meetings and events.
Why is it important to perform a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country ceremony?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have strong connection to their traditional lands, cultures and heritage. All Australians can be proud to learn of and share these unique histories and cultures.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the “original owners” and it is important that this unique position of Indigenous people is recognised and incorporated into our protocols. This would enable everyone to share in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and facilitate better relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities and non-Indigenous communities.
Welcome to Country
What is a Welcome to Country ceremony?
A Welcome to Country ceremony is usually performed by the Traditional Custodians of the Land or a senior representative of the local Indigenous community to welcome visitors onto their traditional land.
When should a Welcome to Country ceremony be performed?
A Welcome to Country ceremony should be performed at all the Commission’s major or relevant meetings and official events (e.g. State Conferences, Indigenous Cultural Awareness training, the Human Rights Awards and Medals).

Who should be invited to perform the Welcome to Country ceremony?
The Commission should invite the Traditional Custodians of the Land, usually a senior representative of the local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community, to do the Welcome to Country Ceremony. However, this is dependent upon the location of the event and the practice of the community. Below is a list of Land Councils and representative organisations situated in or near state capitals which may possess links to relevant traditional custodians:
Adelaide: South Australia Native Title Services
Alice Springs: Central Land Council
Brisbane: Queensland South Native Title Services
Canberra: Aboriginal Land Council Ngunnawal
Darwin: Northern Land Council
Hobart: Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council
Melbourne: Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council
Perth: South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council
Sydney: Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
Staff of the Commission who are unsure of the traditional owners/custodians of the land where a Commission related meeting/event is to take place are able to contact the local Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) to confirm who the traditional owners/custodians are. A list of NTRBs can be accessed at the following website: https://www.ntrb.net/ PublicPages/NTRBmap.aspx.
What wording should be used in performing the Welcome to Country ceremony?
There is no exact wording for Welcome to Country. As such, the content of the ceremony should be negotiated between the Commission and the provider with reference to the nature of the event and community practices. The traditional owners/ custodians are to be approached to undertake the Welcome to Country ceremony. It is very important that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative has been involved in and is comfortable with the arrangements.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples • Engagement Toolkit 2012 • 7

Recognition and acknowledgements: Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country

How should the Indigenous performers of the Welcome to Country ceremony be remunerated?
In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are using their intellectual property and should be appropriately remunerated.
Appropriate remuneration and/or assistance should be negotiated with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative and should take into consideration:
• Travel to and from the event
• Payment for performing the Welcome to Country
• Public profile of the event.
The procedure for payment is as follows:
• Where possible, before payment is made, seek a tax invoice quoting an ABN number (from the Indigenous representative or their organisation, e.g. the Local Land Council).
• Where an ABN number cannot be provided:
»» Pay them in cash / cheque / bank transfer
»» Have the Indigenous representative sign the attached receipt, acknowledging receipt of payment
»» Have the Indigenous representative sign a “Statement by a Supplier” form (provided by the ATO), which declares they do not have an ABN number and that “the supply is done as a private recreational pursuit or hobby”. This will ensure the earnings are not taxed at the highest margin of 48%.
The Statement by a Supplier Forms can be obtained by accessing the Australian Taxation Office website: www.ato.gov. au/content/downloads/nat3346.pdf.
Where it is likely that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative who doesn’t have an ABN number is going to be invited to do the Welcome to Country for the Commission for more than one or two events per year, they should be encouraged to get an ABN.
Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives may not have means of providing a receipt for the payment they receive. In these cases, the attached receipt form should be provided to the person to complete, sign and give back to the Commission.

What should happen if for any reason a Welcome to Country ceremony is unable to be performed?
If a Welcome to Country ceremony cannot be undertaken for any reason then an Acknowledgement of Country should be conducted.
Acknowledgement of Country
What is an Acknowledgement of Country ceremony?
An Acknowledgement of Country is a way that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who is not a traditional owner or custodian of the land where the event is being held, or a nonIndigenous person, can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage and the ongoing relationship the Traditional Custodians have with the Land.
In what circumstances must an Acknowledgement of Country be performed?
An Acknowledgement of Country is only to be undertaken where no traditional owner or custodian is available to do so and all avenues to locate one within the community have been undertaken and it is not possible to perform a Welcome to Country ceremony.
At which point during the Commission’s event must the Acknowledgement of Country be performed and what wording must be used?
At the beginning of a meeting or official event, a Chair or Speaker begins by ‘Acknowledging that the meeting is taking place in the Country of the Traditional Custodians’. Where the name of the Traditional Custodians is known, it is specifically used. Where it is not known, a general Acknowledgement is given. An example of an Acknowledgement of Country is:
“I would like to show my respect and acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land, of Elders past and present, on which this meeting takes place.” It is also important that all speakers, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and nonIndigenous, acknowledge any Elders in attendance prior to presenting or speaking.

8
CountryRightsCountry CeremonyCommissionPeople