Group Working towards Reconciliation at JCU

Recon
Cross-cultural awareness is to be the main focus of this year’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group.
By Sandra Haaland

Reconciliation: The nation-wide initiative, Reconciliation Australia. Image from:http://www.reconciliation.org.au/raphub/wp-content/themes/RAP/img/rap-logo.png

Reconciliation: The nation-wide initiative, Reconciliation Australia. Image from:http://www.reconciliation.org.au/raphub/wp-content/themes/RAP/img/rap-logo.png

The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group consists of JCU students and staff, and is part of Reconciliation Australia to help institutions and businesses promote reconciliation in the workplace.

Social Science, Asia Pacific Governance Masters Student and student representative for the Working Group Elise Howard says the document they are drawing up will show students what they can do and how to get involved in the project.

Remove: One of the things on the list for the Working Group and Elise Howard is to remove the word "indiginous" and rather use Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander when talking about Australian indiginous culture, because this can also be assosiated with other indiginous cultures in the world.

Elise Howard and the RAP Working Group will have their first document ready this year which will be the framework for future action towards reconciliation.

“We are thinking about what our campuses look like, how lecturers conduct themselves, what is in our course outlines, what kind of photography’s are used in brochures, and what opportunities there are for students to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students,” Elise says.

The RAP document indicates course outlines will be changed to include an acknowledgement of traditional owners and also outline various university events.

“We are thinking about what happens in NAIDOC week and Reconciliation week, and how we can get involved in that,” Elise says.

To get involved in NAIDOC week, the Working Group encourages students to keep their eyes open for advertisements on the JCU webpage.

“Students could either just show up and observe if they don’t feel comfortable with being involved, or have a look at what activities are happening and participate,” Elise says.

The Working Group also helps to highlight and end any inequalities that exist between Non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians.“The history has made strong attempts to remove Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture from Australia, so there is a lot of hurt and trauma from the past and we see that materialized today in the major indicators of health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people,” Elise says.“So we all have a role to play in healing the wrongs of the past and to have a more positive future in Australia.”

Remove: Birrin Hooper says the Working Group will remove the word "indigenous". "It is removed because within the current globalized landscape of JCU, Indigenous can be interpreted as indigenous to New Caledonia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and so on."

REMOVE: Birrin Hooper says the Working Group will remove the word “indigenous” because within the current globalized landscape of JCU, Indigenous can be interpreted as indigenous to New Caledonia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and so on.” To learn more click here.

Bachelor of Arts student Birrin Hooper who is also a student representative for the Working Group says he is doing his bit to end inequality between Non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians.

“I am part of this process, and I help to develop the wording and help to decide on the actions, targets and time frames on the RAP working group,” Birrin says.

“I became interested in the RAP working group because I would like to do my bit to end the inequalities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-indigenous Australians.”

For students who want to contribute to RAP, there is cross-cultural awareness training by the School of Indigenous Australian Studies (SIAS), or they can become a tutor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.