Not enough Australians know the name and culture of the traditional land their house sits on. That’s why people from across the country are being asked to join cultural leaders to make ‘Signs of Respect’. The aim is to stand with our First Nations people, to listen, to learn, show respect, and make lasting change. Developed by CultureUp! and supported by Traditional Cultural Practices, an Elder-led NGO, ‘Signs of Respect’ asks the community to create homemade signs recognising the traditional lands where they live and work, to proudly display in or outside their homes, workplaces and on their social channels.
Eddie Moore, Palawa, Wotjobaluk and Wemba Wemba man, cultural educator and managing director of Nyuka Wara Consulting, said it can be challenging to achieve reconciliation, strength, or healing when knowledge and connection to our First Nations people and their culture is so weak.
“At its core, ‘Signs of Respect’ is about education. It asks people of all ages, backgrounds to learn more about First Nations people and their country, language, culture, and their history,” says Eddie.
“By doing so they will find themselves becoming more understanding and connected to our true history, and recognise and respect First Nations people through action. When I talk about ‘my country’ while yes it’s a spot on a map, it’s also about place, knowing where you belong, living and being a part of the land. It’s also about my cultural connections – kinship, memories, stories, lines from songs, identity, values and beliefs. For people to learn about this beyond the ‘Welcome to Country’ would mean a lot to me and other First Nations people. Signs of Respect lets people show support in the way that they feel most comfortable, and to showcase their learnings through their creativity.”
CultureUp! founding volunteer Peter McConchie worked with Traditional Elders and a community of women he met in North East Arnhem Land while working in community-led remote suicide prevention. In 2019 we built a safety house for a community of women. Galupa is a place in the region
where women come for support through Elder Gayili Marika Yunupingu. Up until then the women were living in a cyclone damaged shed at Galupa,” Peter said.
“Galupa has been cut back to about three acres by the mining company that borders it on three sides (the sea is on the fourth side). Gayili was offered $3 million to sell and leave, she didn’t take the money. After building Galupa safety house the ladies created a sign acknowledging their Traditional
land and that they are proud to remain on their country. So we had a chat and Gayili talked about an idea that it would be wonderful if everyone acknowledged the Traditional land they are on. And that was the start of Signs of Respect.”
Participating is simple:
1. Educate yourself – find out the name of the traditional land you live and work on. Visit the website for more resources cultureup.org.au
2. Create a sign – this can be as simple as crayon or texta on paper or beautifully painted on canvas or on a wooden plaque. Get some paper, canvas or wood and get creative, paint your sign that celebrates and acknowledges the Traditional land where you live and work. Put your Signs of Respect out on your fence in your front window or on a tree and show the World you’re CulturedUp!
3. Share it with friends – Use the #CultureUP! and #signsofrespect hashtags And tag @Culture___Up
4. Join and support CultureUP! – By joining you will be given opportunities to participate in the ‘Signs of Respect’ movement, and they will also let you know about upcoming cultural projects and events that they will be further developing.
Visit cultureup.org.au to find out more.
The CultureUp! Signs of Respect movement is an Elders-led NGO dedicated to ensuring that Cultural practices and knowledge from the world’s oldest living culture is safeguarded, continues to evolve, and lives on.