When engaging an Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner, Elder, community member or organisation for a cultural service, it is appropriate and respectful to pay for the service provided. Services and cultural activities may include a Welcome to Country, cultural expression of Acknowledgement to Country, smoking ceremony, dance, musical performance, poetry reading or workshop. It is important to remember that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations hold the Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property for the service, activity and cultural knowledge.
In this chapter, you can learn some considerations and tips for respectfully and appropriately engaging an Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner, Elder, community member or organisation for a cultural service.
When working with an Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander artist, it is important for the UQ representative to provide appropriate remuneration and to discuss and negotiate matters of copyright and intellectual property. It is important to offer the true value for use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, images, cultural works, designs, songs and videos. Read more about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.
Always work to ensure the general comfort and cultural safety of Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner, Elder, community member or organisation.
- Identify and contact people and organisations in the initial planning of the activity, event, conference, workshop or meeting. Contacting people a couple of weeks before (or even less) to organise a service or activity makes it appear that the inclusion is an afterthought or not valued in the planning process.
- Remember to allocate a budget to the activity or service and negotiate method of payment ahead of the service and activity. For example, some Elders may not have an ABN and you will need to work with Finance to navigate UQ systems. This is an internal issue, not a supplier issue.
- Avoid being only ‘transactional’ in the engagement as discussed in Part 2: Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
- Additional tips for creating reciprocity
- If the cultural service is an event or being provided by an Elder or high-profile Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander person, please email email@example.com to engage with and inform the Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement).
- Offer to arrange transport to and from and /or parking near the venue.
- Organise for a staff member to receive the Elder and/ or community representatives to ensure general comfort and way-finding.
- Consider whether family or support people might attend with an Elder or community representative and ensure that there is appropriate seating and catering.
- Follow up after the service and/ or activity, as appropriate, to reflect on what worked well and learnings.
- Understand that Traditional Owners, Elders and community members and organisations have cultural and community responsibilities and obligations that continue outside of the service or activity being provided. These obligations and responsibilities take precedence over the provision of a service or activity and respecting this situation will strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.