‘What does it mean to be a good ally’?
Our shared past and shared future’ is a project that sought to engage non-Indigenous Australians in the process of better understanding the cultures, histories, knowledges and lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The aim of the project was to create spaces that invite other non-Indigenous Australians to engage with the truth of our shared history, and work together - respectfully - to shape our shared future.
The project grew from a desire within each of us to step into this space of greater understanding and engagement, and do so respectfully - asking ourselves, ‘what does it mean to be a good ally’? In this respect, the process of developing the project has almost been a prototype of the journey we are inviting others to embark on.
The focus of the project on facilitating a space for self-education and engagement was informed by our interviews with a range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working in different sectors - but all at the interface of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.
These conversations confirmed a need for the project, and the interviewees provided us with some important guidance on what it means to be a good ally, which we will seek to model throughout the project:
• start from a place of humility and curiosity.
• start by listening.
• acknowledge the diversity of Indigenous people, their cultures, knowledges, opinions and lived experiences.
• leave your expectations behind - be willing to be surprised and challenged.
We saw this project as particularly pertinent as a number of states and territories take the first steps towards Treaty/Treaties. We believe the acknowledgement by our governments of the sovereignty of Australia’s First Nations Peoples should be accompanied by our own personal-political process of decolonisation.
We hosted an evening of conversation at the CSL Future Makers Fellowship Retreat on 24 August 2018.
More alumni from 2018 Australia Wide Fellowship Project
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