This Project and this website were borne of the need for services and their staff to better understand the culture and customs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly around the subject of disability, how that is seen within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context and how best to engage with individuals, their families and their communities.
Service provider staff who will engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will normally undertake Cultural Awareness Training as part of their induction process. The content of this website is meant to strengthen and supplement that Cultural Awareness Training and offer more depth by giving an insight into the feelings and aspirations expressed by a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, their family and carers and by those service provider staff that have worked alongside people from those communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture within Australia is both unique and diverse. No single resource can hope to accurately portray everything contained within this diversity. This Toolkit is a starting point to assist with improving the understanding and interaction between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and service provider staff working to support them.
The content of this resource has been created and contributed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, sharing their lived experience and providing a brief introduction into their culture and how contemporary issues impact their daily lives. Other content has been sourced from publicly available material produced by other Organisations.
This site has been created specifically to allow on-going input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Organisations, who will be able to add more and more stories that will provide added insight into the ways for improved service provision and interaction with a goal of empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability to achieve improved educational and employment outcomes.
The First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) was pleased to partner with the Australian Government's National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Programme on its NDCO Indigenous Awareness Project. The national resource is now available online at http://www.ndcoaware.net. This project gives valuable insights and we hope it will give both service providers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, who may need to access non-Indigenous services, greater confidence.
It is worth noting that the resource has been created to allow for ongoing input from Indigenous organisations, professionals and individuals. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals will be able to add their own content and even develop their own pages within the site. The disability community in Indigenous Australia is very diverse and for this reason it is great to see that the resource will serve as a platform for ongoing discussion and development.
I look forward to following the progress of the NDCO Indigenous Awareness Project and I thank Mr Gary Travers and his colleagues at the NDCO for the work they have put in to ensure the success of this project.
CEO First Peoples Disability Network