Each year, Reconciliation Week highlights the issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a broader Australian culture.
This year’s theme Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow encouraged us to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and share that knowledge with others.
My organisation Youth Off The Streets is dedicated to learning and teaching about these cultures.
Teaching our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people about their culture and history is so important for building connections to their communities and families. At Youth Off The Streets we have an entire team dedicated to empowering and teaching young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their culture through dance programs, cultural camps, art lessons and other tailored services.
I want to echo this year’s theme of teaching, but with an emphasis on teaching Australian people as a whole, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Through all of our services at Youth Off The Streets we encourage our young people to attend cultural events, participate in programs and learn about the world’s oldest culture. They take immense value from this.
I also encourage my staff to learn about our country’s cultural history. As part of our dedication to reconciliation, we have created a Reconciliation Action Plan to ensure all staff are culturally aware and formally trained in cultural competencies and will actively embrace the principals and practices of reconciliation.
In light of Reconciliation Week, don’t keep history a mystery. Learn. Share. Grow.
Father Chris Riley, CEO and founder, Youth Off The Streets