Inclusive Education Community of Practice – Effective allyship
Community of Practice
It has been a couple of weeks since the first Inclusive Education Community of Practice (CoP) session for 2021. The team from the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Innovation led a conversation about Effective allyship – supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The session took place during Reconciliation Week.
Importantly 2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process. The theme this year was More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.
This session was a dialogue between Gunditjmara man Mark Rose (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation), Narungga Woman Deb Milera and Gunditjmara man Tom Molyneux. They discussed ways to meaningfully become effective allies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The most important point for reflection from this session was the great emphasis each speaker placed on engaging with the stories and lives of First Nations Peoples.
As Gunditjmara man Mark Rose puts it, ‘Part of the reconciliation conversation is having tough conversations about the things that went on in our national history. Not to dwell on the past, and not to make one party feel good here, then the other party feels bad, but for us to collectively accept as truth-telling the things that have happened in this country as indigenous and non-indigenous people.
‘We must come to a peace about these perspectives and put in place mechanisms so that they never happen again. To me, that’s what reconciliation is, it’s about national maturity’.
This is about us all. Indigenous and non-indigenous people engaging in interesting and robust conversations and through them building our collective knowledge.
‘Put your toe in the water and try it. If you’re a person of good heart and sincerity and you do step over the cultural line, don’t worry about it when no one’s going to beat you up, but you know we’d rather you have a go than not have a go’.
Gunditjmara man Mark Rose
In having such conversations, we should aspire to identify, acknowledge, and challenge the assumptions we all carry because this will move us all towards positive reconciliation.