Australia is home to a rich and diverse spectrum of First Nations cultures. Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples were the first inhabitants of Australia, and their cultures are very much worth celebrating and supporting during your time in Australia. If you’re keen to learn, explore and engage with First Nations cultures, here are five ways you can start.
Learn about the diverse cultures
Educating yourself on First Nations peoples is a great way to learn more about their histories, unique cultures, languages and more. You can discover this kind of information at various Aboriginal cultural centres, through tours and walks in your city, or at many of the country’s major museums and galleries, but you might also want to seek out this information yourself.
While any kind of learning is valuable, try to find materials that are created by First Nations peoples themselves; there are lots of fantastic books, movies, newspapers, TV programs and music acts that explore all kinds of topics, offering an introduction to First Nations cultures.
You can also check out this cool map, which details the multiple language, tribal or nation groups of First Nations peoples across Australia.
Support First Nations-owned businesses
From food to clothing and everything in between, there are all kinds of First Nations-owned businesses located across Australia. You can search Supply Nation’s database to find verified First Nations businesses, organised by location and category.
If you’re planning to buy Aboriginal art or other items such as a didgeridoo or clapsticks, make sure to purchase ethically. There are a few questions you should ask before buying Aboriginal art or other items – more information can be found here.
Donate to organisations
There are several organisations and charities working to make an impact on Australia’s First Nations communities. If you have the means and desire to make a donation, you can find a list of Aboriginal charities here – it covers everything from health and education to homelessness and women’s support.
Travel to significant sites (when you’re allowed to!)
The country is starting to open up to domestic travel, and across Australia, there are plenty of incredible places to visit that hold significance. Uluru – and the surrounding Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park – is the most famous, but there are several more worth adding to your next travel itinerary.
Arnhem Land, located in the Northern Territory, is an incredibly beautiful patch of wilderness that is home to the Yolngu people, who are the Traditional Owners of the land. Kakadu National Park, also in the Northern Territory, is the home of the Bininj people in the park’s north and the Mungguy people in the south. As well as being a stunning area to explore, the park’s Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a great place to learn about the Traditional Owners of the land.
Other spots to visit include the Blue Mountains (NSW), Wilpena Pound (SA), Kata Tjuta (NT), the Kimberley (WA), and Mossman Gorge (QLD). Many locations have tours led by First Nations cultural tour operators, which are excellent for learning more about the history and importance of each area.
Share your experiences
If you’ve learned new information or had an insightful or enjoyable experience, share it with your friends and family. Encourage them to engage with First Nations cultures, whether here in Australia or from overseas.
If you’re responsible for organising events or activities at your educational institution or through another organisation, you can present your experiences to fellow students and peers. Or, even better, invite a First Nations speaker to an event so they can present their story themselves.
You can also incorporate a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country at the start of an event you’re organising. This shows respect for the Traditional Owners of the land on which an event is taking place.