As a young girl growing up in Victoria, Georgia never dreamt that one day she would claim several Aboriginal women as her closest friends. In ‘One Day I’ll Dance at Your Wedding’ we meet Georgia, who accepts an invitation to work as a volunteer in Murgon / Cherbourg in South East Queensland. Cherbourg is one of Queensland’s largest Aboriginal communities.
Georgia’s story reveals the importance of ‘waiting’ when one makes the choice to attempt to build a respect filled relationship with Aboriginal people. Through local mentors and the day to day ups and downs of relationship Georgia discovered a whole world of relationship and family that is hidden to the casual glance or pre-conceived opinion. Through creating a respectful space for trust building Georgia experiences a sisterhood and belonging she could only have imagined.
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'One Day I'll Dance at your Wedding': Georgia's Tips
As one responds to issues within our world it is important to know there are many ways to respond. Not everyone can nor should respond in radical ways. Most responses should either grow awareness of the situation, stand in solidarity with people, advocate for them or the issue or take some form of action. One of the key responses should always be to form some sort of personal relationship with the person or issue; taking it beyond labels to the people who are daily effected by it.Short term: Recognise and pay respects to the Traditional Owners of the land at major functions at your workplace, Church or community organisation. Research what this means.
Medium term: Fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag at your workplace. Watch the series 'First Australians' which chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia from the perspective of her first people. For more information visit www.madman.com.au
Longer term: Connect with the local Aboriginal community where you live and learn about their history. Tell these stories whenever you can and aim to erect a plaque that recognises the traditional custodians of the land.
Short term: In conversations with friends, encourage others not to use racially discriminatory language and humour.
Medium term: Visit the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission website and learn more about the social and economic challenges facing many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Longer term: Support the 'Make Indigenous Poverty History' campaign to reduce poverty among Australian Indigenous people.
Short term: Attend local Indigenous festivals and cultural events and show your support. Aim to recognise and connect with Aboriginal people on days such as Australia Day and hear their stories and perspective.
Medium term: Join Reconciliation Circle in your local area. This enables you to explore issues and ideas in a safe and positive environment.
Longer term: Each year host an Indigenous focussed lecture or sharing time and invite a prominent Aboriginal person to be the keynote speaker or attend same (eg. The Mabo Oration).
Short term: Purchase products made by local communities as gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
Medium term: Explore ways to increase Indigenous employment and representation at your workplace. Different companies have been pro-active in offering various avenues to do this.
Longer term: At your workplace, church, school or community group, develop a RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan). You can find information at www.reconciliation.org.au