Cross-Cultural Training Call
11 April 2016 at 9:24 am
There is a desperate need for proper cross-cultural training for people who work with Indigenous clients and communities, according author and community educator, Richard Trudgen.
Trudgen, the author of Why Warriors Lie Down and Die and a community educator in the Northern Territory for over 30 years, said recent events in Aboriginal communities and the healthcare system once again highlight the need for cross-cultural communication.
“The present system and practices leaves broken and vulnerable people on both sides of the cultural divide,” Trudgen said in response to the recent claim that musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was reportedly mistreated at Royal Darwin Hospital, as well as the news that a non-Indigenous nurse was killed in the remote South Australian community of Fregon.
He said that people who work closely with Aboriginal communities can become vulnerable because they often have little understanding of appropriate standards of behaviour in Indigenous culture, resulting in unintentional actions that can be experienced by Aboriginal people as rude and even abusive.
“There have been safety concerns for remote healthcare workers for some time, along with concern for the safety of Aboriginal patients,” he said.
“There is nothing new about what I’m saying here. When tourists travel to other countries they are given good basic advice on how to dress and interact with the local people. Why is this advice also not made available to nurses, teachers and others who work with Aboriginal people who operate from a predominantly Asian cultural context, not a European one?
“Effective cultural competency training prepares people to live, work, and survive in many different cultural contexts, and benefits those working with Indigenous people and the people themselves.”
Trudgen said he was keen to share training material that would help mainstream Australians learn some of the original Australian culture and has started a new video series to provide useful tools to people travelling and working in Aboriginal communities.