February 2, 2022

What Truth and Reconciliation means to me.

Reconciliation achieved through Cultural Awareness training and Aboriginal cultural sensitivity is an aspiration for our country. We are not there yet.

I believe we began the Reconciliation journey in 1967. It was a significant year that saw the greatest shift towards where we are today. 1967 represents a level of freedom, rights, and respect that our Aboriginal families had never experienced before then. It signifies the ending of segregation policies that kept our families out of towns, cities, and venues. It also provided an outlet for our families to deal with personal and intergenerational traumas.

1967 gave Aboriginal families the right to buy and drink alcohol. One of our Australian citizenship rights. This had a devastating impact on our families and many people got stuck in cycles of alcohol addiction. This was also the beginning of family domestic violence. 55 years of alcohol and the impacts of alcohol. Non-Aboriginal cultures have been dealing with these issues for more than 500 years. The life expectancy gap is connected to alcohol-related chronic diseases, among other things.

It is one thing for Governments, industry’s, professions, and workplaces to make a commitment to Reconciliation through taking Aboriginal cultural awareness training, like the courses available at Aboriginal Insights, and developing Aboriginal cultural sensitivity. It is another thing for individual Australians to make their own personal commitment and take cultural awareness training.

Some Australians have made the commitment to Reconciliation, some are undecided, and some don’t even know about it. We need more education for all Australians so that they can make informed personal decisions about supporting Reconciliation. Some people will need more cultural training than others, and some will need more time than others to understand what it means to them. We need Aboriginal cultural sensitivity education in schools, workplaces, and other spaces.

Any commitment to Reconciliation must involve a genuine and authentic commitment to Truth and Healing. There is no Reconciliation without these two important steps. Truth must be first. Some healing can only come from Truth being recognised and listened to. Reconciliation also involves commitments and actions relating to Relationships and Respect - even the simplest step of taking time to partake in Aboriginal cultural awareness training is a step towards the right direction. This is absolutely key to creating Culturally Safe & Responsive workplaces.

Truth is not just about our past. It is also about our present.

We must first understand our past, to see the issues in our present.

Anyone who is part of Reconciliation or wants to join the journey must commit to ongoing cultural awareness training that focuses on building respect and relationships with Aboriginal people, families, groups, organisations, Communities, and businesses, such as the different Aboriginal cultural awareness training options offered at Aboriginal Insights. We must now achieve a new level of Relationships and Respect in this country.

Don’t make hollow commitments to tick a box or gain a personal benefit or advantage. You will be called out for it. Tokenism is not acceptable. Fake marketing about opportunities is not ok. You will be called out for it.

I joined the Reconciliation journey in 2009 which is when my Truth learning began. I am still on the journey and I would be pleased to walk the journey with you through my training offered at Aboriginal Insights, including workshops, articles, online learning courses, and books. My Aboriginal cultural awareness training options are my contribution to our country’s Reconciliation journey.

We are not responsible for the laws and policies that created the gaps of inequalities, the mistrust held by Aboriginal people towards the mainstream western system, or the behaviours of others who did the wrong things to Aboriginal people. We are not responsible. But we know these laws and policies existed and that the impacts are with the current generation of Aboriginal Australians. We accept the responsibility to help heal these impacts because we know better than those responsible; it’s the right thing to do, and we want our future generations to enjoy a Reconciled Australia.


I do sincerely hope that you and I get to see our country reach that aspirational place of Reconciliation.

Jolleen Hicks

jolleen hicks blog articles featured on aboriginal insights

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What Truth and Reconciliation means to me.

What Truth and Reconciliation means to me.