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Definition of Indigenous Australia and its application into Policies and Services

The term Indigenous Australians is used when referring to both Indigenous races of Australia,

These being:-
(i) Australian Aboriginal people and;
(ii) Torres Strait Islander people

To understand and apply this terminology means that you also understand that these Australians are two separate races, and policies devised on behalf of these races should clearly be highlighted. In fact it is not enough to understand this term but it is also important that the people from these two races are properly represented on organisations, boards etc who use the word Indigenous Australian in promoting their service delivery.

There are many Indigenous Australian organisations, and  non-Indigenous Australian organisations that are using the term "Indigenous Australian", however in operation these organisations mainly focus on the Aboriginal people of Australia, and often you will find very little Torres Strait Islander representation and input. Even the Artwork used reflects only one of the Indigenous races, the Aboriginal race. This is definitely a form of discrimination, as the human rights issues confronting the Torres Strait Islanders are not adequately addressed if addressed at all.


You will also find that only a few of the Australian universities have involved Torres Strait Islanders in the organisations, and have accepted that the Aboriginal race speaks also on behalf of the Torres Strait Islander race.  This is discriminatory and violates the human rights of the Torres Strait Islander people.

For those bodies who are accessing funding from government bodies, who from the funder is assessing if the these organisations are actually meeting the needs of the population they claim the funds for.  What's even worse is currently a number of State and Territory governments continue to fail to adequately make clear their policies in regards to how the Torres Strait Islanders will be catered for within their State or Territory, and how they will spend the funds on the delivery of services to the Torres Strait Islander population.

The Torres Strait Islander population is a minority in comparison to the Australian Aboriginal population, and this is a real concern when you don't see the Torres Strait Islander people representing themselves as they should. How culturally appropriate can these services be when they have very little understanding or working knowledge of dealing with the Torres Strait Islander people.
In fact what is even worse is that a number of people who are employed in the health, Law/legal, and education disciplines have real problems in trying to grasp how you spell Torres Strait ...too often they write Straight instead of Strait.

Is your Organisation using the term Indigenous to promote your service delivery:-

1 Have you included both Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander input
2 Have you got the right genders for the business you are wanting to deliver
3 Are Elders from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait population involved
4 Is the community you claim to represent aware of the service you are delivering on their behalf
5 Is your service culturally appropriate to the Indigenous races you want to deliver your services
6 Monitoring the effectiveness of your services to both Indigenous Australian races
7 If you are going to add Indigenous Artwork to your organisation logo, make sure that both races are equally represented.


Article by Elvianna Dorante-Day ~ (Member of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community), Bachelor of Nursing, Masters of Arts (Aboriginal Issues), Graduate Diploma in Public Health, Doctorate of Public Health Candidate