How to embrace your local indigenous community in your event
As a way for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games to meaningfully include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, they has done something no other major sporting event in the world has done: develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy for Indigenous Australians beyond the traditional inclusion of culture in Opening Ceremonies.
The RAP specifies how to increase opportunities for indigenous Australians through employment and training, business development, participation in sports and volunteering, showcasing Indigenous arts and cultures in the Games, building a culturally-capable workforce, and via procurement from Indigenous-owned businesses.
Image: Welcome to Country at the DestinationQ Event Forum in Toowoomba earlier this year.
Smaller events and festivals can also create a RAP to drive social change in their own backyards, creating economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples in their communities based on taking small steps together.
The framework for a RAP is provided by Reconciliation Australia. There are four kinds of RAP that can transition from one stage to the next to recognise Indigenous culture, leverage economic and social opportunities, and leave legacy outcomes:
IDEAS ON HOW EVENTS CAN INCLUDE THEIR LOCAL INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY:
Commit to include them
Use indigenous-owned businesses (such as printers, farmers, chefs, trainees, sports coaches) or purchase from companies that have indigenous staff, are social enterprise businesses, or that have their own RAP
Employ indigenous people as professionals, trainees and volunteers
Help to increase the capacity of indigenous businesses with pre-tendering workshops and meet the buyer opportunities
Increase indigenous participation through schools, arts and youth
How can you practically do this in your event’s management?
Start with a vision of inclusion
Use existing networks in your community to find out who to talk with
Leverage government agencies
Be open and transparent in your engagement
Manage expectations, recognising it’s not possible to please everyone
Be open to change, such as in using different suppliers
DIRECTORIES TO HELP YOU FIND ABORIGINAL-OWNED BUSINESSES
One of Australia’s unique advantages is our indigenous culture – an advantage of tourism offerings to both international and domestic markets. Do you have a success story to share of working in events as Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders or with them in a event partnership?
INDIGENOUS EVENT COMING UP:
Cully Fest is an Aboriginal and Outback cultural festival being held in Toowoomba 17-19 November and giving access to many passionate and knowledgeable Aboriginal musicians, artists, storytellers and dancers sharing the hands-on experience of their culture through workshops, talks and performances:
Didgeridoo making and playing
Aboriginal language classes
Aboriginal dance classes
Bush tucker exploration