Using the site

This site is for Board and Committee members, CEOs, managers, coordinators, team leaders and workers in human service organisations.

People in human services organisations will provide more appropriate services to Indigenous Australians if they understand Indigenous Australians' history, cultural and social reality and are also competent in working cross-culturally.

There are four steps to improving services:

  • improving understanding
  • improving competence in working cross culturally
  • seeing the implications for service delivery and community development
  • improving your service delivery and community development through changes to practice.

This web site can help you with the first three steps: improving understanding, improving competence in working cross culturally and seeing the implications.

We wish you well for the fourth step of implementing changes to practice.

Your feedback on this site is especially important to us.

Improving understanding

Important areas to understand are:

Indigenous Australians are the first peoples of Australia

They include Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people.

Torres Strait Islanders are from the Torres Strait Islands region. Some Torres Strait Islander peoples have moved to mainland Australia either through forced removal or for employment and education.

History: do you understand the following phases in Australian history? And the effects on Indigenous Australians?

  • The 60,000+ years before the arrival of Europeans
  • Initial invasion and colonisation (1788 to 1890)
  • Protection and segregation (1890s to the 1950s)
  • Assimilation (1940s to the 1960s)
  • Integration, self-determination and self-management (1967 to mid 1990s)
  • Reconciliation (1991 to the present)

Key ideas: Do you understand these key ideas and their implications for Indigenous Australians

  • What is meant by The Dreaming
  • The importance of the Land and the basis for it
  • The legal history - two laws, one land - The Law and The Lore
  • Family and kinship structures and expectations
  • How we have made our images of the history and identify of indigenous people
  • What self-determination means.

Today's social issues: In your area of work are you aware of today's social reality for Indigenous Australians?

  • Population
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Legal issues and criminal justice system

Background information you will find useful includes:

  • Structures
  • Reports
  • Readings
  • FAQ
  • Glossary

Practice implications

History, cultural and social reality impacts on people. Once we see the history, culture and social reality of Indigenous Australians the impacts on them become clear. These impacts in turn have implications for service delivery.

This section of the web site makes the implications explicit and provides tips and suggestions for good practice.

It also provides suggestions for policy.

Changing practice

If the web site is useful it will help you change practice to improve service delivery to Indigenous Australians.

Upper Hunter

Throughout the website the Upper Hunter region, residents, organisations and Muswellbrook Shire Council have been used to provide examples and personal connections to assist users to see the relevance of the information in a local setting. Every area will have their own version of these stories and discovering them will better place you to provide services to your own community.