Australia is home to a diverse and rich spectrum of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and their continued dismissal and degradation has provided an answer to the question of why Allies are important. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the first to inhabit Australia, and their cultures are worth supporting and celebrating. So if you’re keen to be an Ally and learn about, engage with, and explore Indigenous cultures in Australia, here are six ways to get started.
Learn About Aboriginal Culture
As you strive to become an Indigenous Ally, you’ll find that one of the simplest places to start is education. Educating yourself about Aboriginal culture is an excellent way to learn about their rich histories, languages, and unique cultures. This is also a great way to support and celebrate First Nations cultures. You can learn more about Indigenous culture through walks and tours in your city, from various Aboriginal cultural events, and at many of Australia’s major galleries and museums.
Although any form of learning is vital, try to look for materials that Indigenous people have created—many great movies, books, TV programs, newspapers, and music acts that explore the topic of minority communities in Australia were created by Indigenous people themselves.
Support Aboriginal-Owned Businesses
From clothing to food and anything in between, there are many types of Aboriginal-owned businesses in Australia. You can search through Supply Nation’s database to find verified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses organised by category and location.
If you want to buy First Nations art or other precious items, be sure to purchase ethicAlly. In many First Nations communities, art sales are the primary source of income, so ensuring you always buy authenticAlly and ethicAlly isn’t just about safeguarding your investment, it’s about respecting the world’s oldest cultures by making sure artists and their families get fair payments.
Donate to Indigenous Organisations
Many charities and organisations are working to make a difference in Australia’s Indigenous communities. If you want to donate to charities and organisations that positively affect First Nations in Australia, you can find a list of Indigenous charities on the Welcome to Country website that includes everything from education and health to support for women and unhoused persons.
Visit Significant Aboriginal Sites (When Allowed)
Across Australia, there are many beautiful places that showcase Aboriginal culture. Uluru—Kata Tjuta National park—is the most well-known, but several cultural sites are worth visiting.
Arnhem Land is a beautiful patch of wilderness in the Northern Territory. It’s the home to the Yolngu, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land. Kakadu National Park is also the home of the Bininj tribe, who live north of the park, and the Mungguy tribe in the south; it’s also in the Northern Territory. As well as being a beautiful place to explore and support the Aboriginal culture, the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a fantastic place to learn about Australia’s Indigenous cultures and the Traditional Owners of the land.
Other sites you can visit to learn about Indigenous culture in Australia include Wilpena Pound in South Australia, the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, the Mossman Gorge in Queensland, and the Kimberley in Western Australia. Many of these places have tours led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural tour guides, which are valuable for learning about the importance and history of each area.
Share Your Stories and Experiences
If you’ve had an enjoyable or insightful experience or learned new information about First Nations cultures, share it with your family and friends. Encourage them to engage with Indigenous cultures, whether they live in Australia or overseas.
If you’re responsible for organising activities or events, share your experiences with your peers. Or, better yet, invite an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speaker to share their stories and experiences themselves. You can also incorporate an Acknowledgment of Country or Welcome to Country at the start of events or activities you organise–this shows you acknowledge and respect the Traditional Owners of the land where the event is taking place.
Indigenous communities have experienced substantial exclusion from Australian society for a long time, and many non-Indigenous Australians haven’t had the chance to learn about and support Indigenous communities’ rich and diverse cultures. Acknowledging Indigenous Australians and letting them share their stories and experiences is an excellent way to support Indigenous culture by promoting awareness of the culture and history of these communities.