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District embarks on Cultural Immersion Cruise

Cultural safety a key learning to improve care for the local community.

Group of people standing together in front of a boat
SydneyConnect image: Our Aboriginal Cultural Support team with Lou Anne Blunden and Dr Teresa Anderson AM, District Chief Executive

Key District leaders were welcomed to a Cultural Immersion Cruise to build further understanding of the history and culture of the Gadigal, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Walluemdegal peoples of the Eora Nation.

Organised by the Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Cultural Support Team and hosted by Tribal Warrior, the morning introduction at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and an afternoon cruise to Me-Mel Island was an opportunity to further understand Sydney’s local Aboriginal communities and their history.

Trent Cameron, Manager of the District’s Aboriginal Cultural Support Team, acknowledged the steps taken by the District towards inclusion and improving policy and care with a focus on cultural learning and cultural safety.

“The key to understanding our community is to know not only the history but to appreciate the culture and to build understanding around country and stories,” he said.

“Part of our work in the Aboriginal Cultural Support Team is to partner with organisations like Tribal Warrior to encourage a growing respect and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our culture in our workforce.”

Tribal Warrior, a non-profit community organisation based in Redfern, has been a central part of the community since 1998. The organisation aims to revitalise Aboriginal culture and empower the community through connection to culture and family to build a better future.

In the morning session, Jacob Saunders from Tribal Warrior spoke to attendees about his experiences as an Aboriginal man growing up in the Inner west of Sydney.

Participants learnt about how Tribal Warrior initiatives in the Redfern community support youth like Jacob, to ensure youth had a safe space to grow, learn and develop, and prevent drug, alcohol, and violence.

The event stemmed from the District’s Aboriginal Elders Advisory Group as a recommended cultural learning and cultural safety initiative.

Aboriginal Elders Advisory Group Elders Aunty Evelyn, Uncle Cliff, Aunty Suzie, and Aunty Robyn attended on the day to help staff better appreciate new learnings.

“It was a great opportunity to build a connection with the people we work with and places we visit every day,” said Lou Anne Blunden, District Executive Director, Clinical Services Integration & Population Health.

Other cultural aspects of the event included a morning tea of traditional Aboriginal foods at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence made by Aunty Beryl Berryl Van-Oploo, traditional dance, and education about traditional landmarks around Sydney Harbour and their cultural significance.