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Lutheran Care journeys toward better inclusivity with Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training

First Nations leader Tony Minniecon stands at front of the room talking to a group of Lutheran Care staff during a Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training session

Lutheran Care journeys toward better inclusivity with Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training

As part of Lutheran Care’s journey to becoming more culturally safe and inclusive in our workplace and practices, staff have been undertaking Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training.

A total of 82 per cent of staff have so far completed the training, which was conducted in person across 12 sessions. Seven of the sessions were held at our new Kent Town site in our purpose-built training room. All remaining staff will undertake the training early this year and any new staff will also be required to undertake the training as part of their employment.

First Nations leader Tony Minniecon from Buddy Up – Best Practice delivered the training with co-presenter Nicki Gartlan. Tony is a Kabi Kabi man originally from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast region.

Tony has a strong background in supporting children and young people as a Principal Aboriginal Consultant with the Department of Child Protection and has worked as a consultant and in program development with and for numerous government and non-government agencies. With a solid background in cultural knowledge and networks in South Australia, his expertise and insights were invaluable.

The content included an introduction to the beauty and uniqueness of family structures through a First Nations lens, and an important reminder of the timeline of damaging events in colonial history that have contributed to the discrimination, challenges and trauma that First Nations people continue to face. The session included participants brainstorming proactive new policies and practices to benefit and include First Nations staff and clients and concluded with a yarn circle.

One staff member said, “it was important to confront the truth of our history and Tony and Nicki’s sensitive and non-shaming approach to presenting the content was appreciated. I learned a lot from the presenters and also from the lived experience and cultural knowledge in the room in my particular session, which Tony often deferred to and amplified. I was grateful for the experience and hope we can introduce some of our ideas to make Lutheran Care an organisation that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, workers, contractors, clients and foster families will feel safe and welcome to be involved with”.

Presenter Tony Minniecon shared the following reflections on the training.

“Nicki and I really enjoyed facilitating the Cultural Training,” he said.

“It was important to us that all participants not feel guilt or shame for past events, but rather they walk away with knowledge of Aboriginal history and Culture and a sense of empowerment to better understand the complexities of intergenerational trauma and how to use that knowledge to work more effectively and compassionately with Aboriginal clients.

“We appreciate Lutheran Care providing a culturally safe and inclusive environment; staff who have done the training have shared their vision and commitment in moving forward.

“We are excited to continue sharing our knowledge in 2023.”

Providing mandatory Cultural Awareness Training for all staff is an action from Lutheran Care’s Reconciliation Action Plan.