My perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples stem from the cultural awareness and understanding gained from my family values and through the knowledge received from primary school education and beyond

My perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples stem from the cultural awareness and understanding gained from my family values and through the knowledge received from primary school education and beyond. As well as this, my personal views and perceptions have also been shaped by my own personal experiences with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In a society with such a large social media presence, it is hard to find a positive perspective on Indigenous Australians as large social media websites and newspapers tend to cover stories on these people causing trouble in the community. Without having had the personal experiences or interactions with Indigenous peoples that I have, I found that it could be very easy to make assumptions and pass judgement on these individuals.
However, growing up in an all Australian household, my parents and family members were very open and honest regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, particularly surrounding European settlement, the stolen generation and the overall discrimination and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, both in the past and present. These significant events were used as a learning tool, to teach and inform me on the effects of discrimination and racism and to help understand the lack of humanity and kindness white Australians had shown towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It was my parent’s way to get me, as a child, to attempt to understand how these people may have felt and to use it as a lesson on how to treat other individuals with respect and dignity regardless of ethnicity or skin colour. This way of teaching allowed me to feel empathy towards these groups of people and learn that they are no different to us, helping me to discover they are human, just as we are, with their own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, traditions and culture. As well as this, primary and secondary education taught me to be culturally aware by broadening my knowledge surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their beliefs and culture, thus expanding our mindset, views and opinions.
Another major factor that has heavily influenced my personal views and feelings towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals includes my experiences living in the Northern Territory. In the Northern Territory, there is a heavy presence of Indigenous Australians and living in this environment resulted in myself being surrounded by these people as people and who were my neighbours and my classmates. Majority of these people were of Indigenous heritage, therefore this allowed me to grow up around and experience hints of Indigenous culture and therefore really helped to give me further insight and awareness whilst shaping my personal views in a positive way.
My personal perspective towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is positive as my experiences have been key factors in teaching me that although they have different traditions, culture and beliefs, Indigenous peoples are the same as myself and deserve the same level of respect and decency as I personally would receive from others. This means that I show cultural awareness, cultural competence and consideration of the language I use. As well as this, I believe that it is important to deliver culturally appropriate care whilst still delivering the best possible standard of care to patients. This also means to allow them to both quality public health care but also provide safe spaces such as Community Controlled Health Care facilities, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can feel safe and comfortable. As well as this, it is my belief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the right to equality and equal opportunities, the same as any other Australian. This includes the use of government programs and welfare such as Centrelink and Medicare, as well providing community outreach centres and places for Indigenous people to have a place where they can feel safe and respected amongst people like themselves. These places and enforced programs provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Individuals with the tools to enforce their right to have equal opportunity in Australia.

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