New RAP Working Group Members undertake Cultural Awareness Training

Published on 03 June 2022


Federation Council further strengthened its reconciliation journey this week as members of the newly formed RAP Working Group undertook Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training, as part of 2022 National Reconciliation Week.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Training Coordinator, and Bangerang man, Darren ‘Dozer’ Atkinson and wife Sam proud Bangerang Wiradjuri women, started the morning with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, at the Corowa Civic Centre. Staff and Councillors were invited to walk through the smoke and place leaves on the fire for an individual cleansing.

Federation Council Mayor, Cr Pat Bourke said he was pleased that the RAP Working Group members have had the opportunity to undertake Cultural Awareness Training in the early stages of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan for Council.

“The more knowledge and understanding Council staff have, the better placed they will be to develop a strong and respectful RAP for our Council area,” he said.

“Council looks forward to further developing a model that focuses on respectful behaviour with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, residents, and people of all cultural backgrounds in our broader community.”

The workshop held at the Corowa RSL provided a general overview and introduction to the Bangerang people, their history and culture. The group learnt of issues impacting Aboriginal people such as transgenerational trauma affects, racism and indirect racism, language and cultural bias. The training rapped up with a discussion on strategies for engaging our aboriginal community moving forward.

The Working Group will help guide the Federation Council through the development of an ‘Innovative’ RAP in accordance with the Reconciliation Australia process. The Working Group will meet as required and provide feedback and recommendations to Council.

Every year, National Reconciliation Week is held from the 27th of May to the 3rd of June. It is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, “Be Brave. Make Change.” is a challenge to individuals, families, communities, organisations and government—to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so change can be made for the benefit of all Australians.

For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have employed Smoking Ceremonies to cleanse places and people of bad spirits, acknowledge ancestors, pay respect to the land and water and clean the way for new beginnings.

More information on the RAP Working Group can be found on the Council website.

Inaugural Federation RAP Working Group members L to R: 
Many Mobs Corporation Director, Iris Troutman, Bangerang Leaders Uncle Dozer Atkinson and Aunty Sam Atkinson, Councillor Sally Hughes, Federation Council Darren Harvey, Corowa and District Landcare Coordinator Judy Kirk, Federation Council Rachel Minogue and Amber Harvey, Councillor Aaron Nichols, Federation Council Yasmin Cole and General Manager Adrian Butler.


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