Awareness of the past for a better future
Cultural Awareness sessions are provided through the Hosts Program at Larrakia Nation. The sessions offer people a chance to learn about Larrakia culture, the impact of colonisation on people and culture and how we can work together in the future.
“We are not just one mob and we all have our different beliefs, customs, culture and language. Having Cultural Awareness sessions helps people to understand our story” says Jeanneen McLennan a well-known Welcome to Country speaker and cultural trainer who works within the Hosts Program at LNAC.
“We’re not training but sharing the history and plight that we’ve had since colonisation. We have our Larrakia story and I don’t think that’s been properly shared. Most people think that because there are many groups in Darwin that they are all Larrakia but they’re not.
“My sessions are about creating an understanding about how colonisation came to Darwin and how Larrakia people were involved and at the same time how other Aboriginal people found themselves in Darwin”.
Cultural Awareness and Cross-Cultural Training are not the same thing
Recently Jeanneen presented her Cultural Awareness session to the Police, Fire and Emergency Services (PFES) in Darwin.
“What we are doing today is Cultural Awareness not cross-cultural training. We aren’t looking at the broader Indigenous issues Australia wide, we are instead looking at the Larrakia and some of the issues that affect us”.
The demand for Cultural Awareness training began with companies that were mining in the Top End in early 2000s. “They wanted to know who the Traditional Owners of the Darwin region were, and they wanted to deal with us” explains Jeanneen. Demand continues from the sector with Santos being a key client of the Hosts Program today.
Who signs up for Cultural Awareness training?
These days, Jeanneen and other Hosts presenters are asked to provide cultural training for lots of different organisations. “I’ve worked with Sealink, Defence Housing, Darwin Legal Community Services and today, Police, Fire and Emergency Services. It’s a new thing for PFES, but this year they are running Cultural Awareness for all their new recruits.
“We try and explain that if people are on Larrakia land it’ll be good for your company and your workers to have an understanding about the Larrakia story”.
In the future, Jeanneen would like to see Cultural Awareness as standard practice for all organisations on Larrakia country.
Impact of Cultural Awareness on the integration of Larrakia culture into mainstream
Jeanneen sees her sessions as a steppingstone for sharing the Larrakia story, as a way for future generations to be aware of the past. “This is important for our future generations. Even when I do the session with some of our Larrakia staff they say they didn’t know things in the presentation and want to take copies to show their families. I’ve printed out this presentation so many times so it can be passed on”.
Looking back at the history of the Larrakia Nation and the role it plays in representing eight Larrakia families, it is clear Darwin society is ready to know more about the traditional owners of the land where Darwin sits.
“In the last five years alone the idea of what Larrakia can bring to society has taken off” says Jeanneen. “We now have people knocking on our door wanting our involvement. For example, governments are wanting to name rooms and buildings and roads in Larrakia language. So that alone has opened up the door for so many opportunities”.
“In ten years’ time we could be so much bigger, and we could be providing so many more resources. It all gives opportunity for Larrakia people to showcase themselves and be proud of the value they provide”.
Cultural Awareness content
Designed to tell the Larrakia story, the two-hour sessions include photos, quotes, personal stories, graphs, videos, newspaper articles and historic content to educate the viewer on five key subject areas:
- History of trade with the Larrakia over thousands of years
- History of colonisation in Darwin region
- Negative consequences of colonisation on Larrakia people and culture
- Fighting for land rights and human rights
- Working together today
If you’re interested in booking a session or learning more contact Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation reception
P: (08) 8948 3733