Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meeting the needs of indigenous and Torres Straits people

This is the second post about the eMentoring handbook I am developing. In the previous post "Developing resources in plain English", I considered the challenges of developing resources in language that everyone can understand.

The other issue I need to consider is how to ensure the handbook meets the needs of the audience who are indigenous or Torres Straits people, making sure that the handbook is culturally appropriate.

I have to admit that my knowledge of matters pertaining to the indigenous and Torres Strait people of Australia is limited. And I think that it is vital that I do not make the assumptions that indigenous people are uneducated and illiterate. That clearly would be a huge mistake and quite erroneous.

Nevertheless, I know that there are many indigenous staff who work in aged and community care as care givers, who have not had the advantages that I have had, and consequently their literacy levels are not what they should be, through no fault of their own.

Cultural appropriateness
I am very mindful that this eMentoring project must be culturally appropriate, and I am very privileged to have people advise me about how to do this.

As for the handbook, as well as making sure that the text is written in plain English, I have been advised to use plenty of images. Yet at the same time, I must ensure that they are a mix of images, not all western-centric.

If you work with, or are of indigenous or Torres Strait decent, I would love you to have a look at the handbook and give me feedback. What is important for me to consider - how can I ensure that the eMentoring handbook meets the needs of indigenous or Torres Strait people? Where is a good place to get aboriginal images that I could use? What is the culturally appropriate way of working with aboriginal images?

Image: 'Bach Beach'
www.flickr.com/photos/23783085@N00/1565861408 Cam Pervan


Leigh Blackall said...

This recent documentary series put out by SBS will help you appreciate the history of interaction between the first australians and european migrants.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you, Leigh.

I am getting mixed messages from people here. Some advisers talk a lot about reduced literacy of indigenous workers, which must be taken into consideration, and made special allowance for.

At the same time, other feedback from indigenous workers themselves is that they do not want to be treated any differently than anyone else.

So it will be a 'trick' to get the balance right.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks to @mebuell for this link to a document called : Cultural Competency and Safety:
A Guide for Health Care Administrators,
Providers and Educators