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Over the past few months, Biologic’s staff have participated in three cultural competency training sessions at the Centre of Aboriginal Studies – Curtin University.
Our staff participated in various exercises aimed at increasing our internal knowledge, respect and understanding of Indigenous culture.
Each session began with a discussion on the differences between Welcomes to Country and Acknowledgements to Country, and the appropriate language and protocols when introducing yourself. These discussions moved into a broader conversation on the differences between Aboriginal worldviews and the dominant western worldview, and how they dictate our relationships to land and country.
The training also educated staff on the names and geography of the diverse Aboriginal language groups in Western Australia, particularly the Noongar people and the 6 seasons they follow. Each season has traditional significance and represents the changes in weather, animals, and plants.
Biologic staff undertaking cultural training at Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies. (photo: Prof. Stephen van Leeuwen)Biologic staff creating a visual representation of Aboriginal language groups and Country. (photo: Prof. Stephen van Leeuwen)
The second portion of the session was an interactive presentation called Wogga Warniny, which took participants through the journey of Colonisation in Western Australia and its impact on Aboriginal people throughout the state. This exercise presented knowledge and history that some participants had not experienced before, which expanded their contextual understanding of Colonisation and allowed them to empathise with Aboriginal people’s experiences.
To conclude the training we participated in a yarning circle, which offered a shared moment of reflection and an opportunity for each participant to express the feelings that the day had brought to them.
We would like to express our appreciation to Jayde Conway and Ingrid Cumming for coordinating the training, which has given an invaluable opportunity to examine and understand our relationship with Aboriginal people and country.
Biologic staff participating in Wogga Warniny (photo: Prof. Stephen van Leeuwen)