Health staff celebrate local Aboriginal culture
Jun 05, 2019
Staff from Joondalup Health Campus are taking part in regular lunchtime cultural walks to learn more about Aboriginal culture.
In keeping with the 2019 theme for NAIDOC Week ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth – Let’s work together for shared future” Justin Martin, one of hospital’s Aboriginal Liaison Officers, has been holding a series of cultural walks through the trails around Lake Joondalup.
Justin is passionate about his cultural heritage and people. He kindly shares his immense knowledge of the land and educates fellow staff members.
Last week, a group of 26 staff went on a fascinating a lunchtime cultural walk through Yellagonga Regional Park.
During the one hour walk, he taught the group about local plants, their Noongar names, uses and links to tribes. He also shared some Dreamtime stories, spoke about the six Noongar seasons, and described the impact of colonisation.
Tracey Negus, who chairs the hospital’s Aboriginal Health Committee and is also the co-manager of social work, says the interest shown by Joondalup Health Campus staff has been phenomenal.
“It’s really positive and pleasing to know that our health workers are so engaged and that they want to understand more about Aboriginal history and culture,” she said. “It’s very important that we provide culturally appropriate services in the hospital and so activities like this definitely help to upskill our staff and promote better understanding.”
She said the appointment of three Aboriginal Liaison Officers in February had also been making a huge difference.
“Their role includes visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to provide cultural support and to assist in making the hospital a culturally safe environment for all.”
“We have very lucky to have Justin Martin, Tammy Symmans and Tina Garlett working with our patients and staff – they add such value and we really respect the knowledge and experience they bring.”
7-13 July is NAIDOC Week – a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.