This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ On this day of survival, we reflect on what it means to us to show up in our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.
‘Showing up’ means to be present for other people. “When we talk about showing up, we’re talking about bearing witness to other people’s pain, joy, and true selves; validating their experiences; easing their load; truly seeing them; and communicating that they are not alone in this life.”
To ‘show up’ can also mean ‘to reveal’ – and this requires a commitment to truth telling and to listening. You can read our thoughts on this in a previous blog.
There’s no universal experience of January 26 – the feelings it invokes are complex – for some it’s a commemoration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survival and an opportunity to celebrate the culture that has continued despite the odds, for some it’s a day of mourning for lost culture, land and for the impacts of multi-generational trauma. As a non-Aboriginal person, showing up on survival day means bearing witness to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences, acknowledging the pain and communicating they are not alone on the healing journey.
Standing up, and showing up for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and recognition are individual acts that become even more powerful when done together. We have experienced this through working closely with Community organisations and stakeholders, where we collaborate to ensure community voice is embedded in our work across the whole evaluation process.
There’s a series of AES training sessions coming up in February to help evaluators apply the AES First Nations Cultural Safety Framework. We look forward to this opportunity to deepen our understanding of how to show up for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people in our work.