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Features June 12, 2020

A beginner’s guide to supporting First Nations peoples & being anti-racist

Katie Rynne
A beginner’s guide to supporting First Nations peoples & being anti-racist
Artwork by Rachael Sarra (@sar.ra__)
Image: Artwork by Rachael Sarra (@sar.ra__)

“It’s a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experiencing it.”

I’ve seen so many amazing resources over the past week, but am worried that people are starting to disengage due to the sheer volume of information. I’m worried that prompting people just to “do the research” is not enough for the people that really need to engage with this movement. However it is not the job of BIPOC to teach you their trauma, so let me do the work for you instead.

I do not claim to be an expert in this field whatsoever, and am very much open to input and changes to this document. This is just me pulling together all of the amazing resources I’ve seen, as well as some key pieces of information that every Australian should know about our First Nations peoples history. This is a guide written by a non-Indigenous person, for my non-Indigenous friends & family to read.

My challenge to everyone is to just engage with three things on this list. It’s as easy as putting a playlist on, signing a petition, and watching a 3min video clip. Something is better than nothing, but hopefully this information will make you as angry about the treatment of Indigenous people in this country as I am, and will encourage you to engage with more topics.

Get Educated:

Where to start? Here’s a brief summary…

Aboriginal Australians are the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, after a DNA study reported that they stem from a single ancestral group of migrants who left Africa approximately 72,000 years ago. (source:

On 26 Jan 1788, Captain Arthur Philip and 1500 convicts, crew, marines & civilians arrived at sydney cove. It’s estimated that the Indigenous population of Australia declined by a minimum of 80% within the first 10 years of the arrival of European settlers anywhere in Australia (source: John Harris – Hiding The Bodies). This is mainly due to 3 main reasons: the introduction of new diseases, settler acquisition of Indigenous lands, and direct & violent conflict with the colonisers. (source: Australians Together).

Australia is the only commonwealth nation that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous people. (source: Australians Together)

Between 1910 – 1970, an estimated 10-33% of all Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government policies, mainly focusing on assimilation. The generations of children removed under these policies became known as the stolen generation. For the children that were taken many were psychologically, physically and sexually abused while living in state care or with their adopted families, many were wrongly told that their parents had died or abandoned them, and many received a low level of education, as they were expected to work as manual labourers. This has lead to a high incidence of depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, and suicide among the stolen generation. (source: Australians Together)

 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders were not allowed to vote until 1962, when the commonwealth electoral act was amended – almost 70 years after women were granted the right to vote in Australia (source: Aiatsis)

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders were not included in the Australian census until the 1967 referendum, when 90% of Australians voted in favour of amending two sections of the Australian constitution (source: Australians Together)

Proportionally, First Nations people are the most incarcerated in the world. In 2019, for every 100,000 First Nations adults, 2481 are in prisons, compared with 164 non-Indigenous people. Despite comprising 2% of the general adult population, First Nations Australias are 28% of the prison population. For First Nations women, the rate is 33% and they are 21 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous women. (source:

There have been 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since the Royal Commission in 1991. These include the more recent cases of David Dungay, Joyce Clarke, Kumunjayi Walker, and Tanya Day. (source: The Guardian)

A national apology to Indigenous people (particularly the stolen generations) was not issued until 2008, when Kevin Rudd took over as prime minister. Previous prime minister John Howard refused to apologise, stating he “did not subscribe to the black armband view of history”. (source: National museum of australia)

Read the “Uluru statement from the heart” – a message written in 2017 to the Australian people from Indigenous Australians, outlining the path forward for recognising Indigenous Australians in the nation’s constitution. It is the culmination of more than a decades work, and the largest deliberative process with Indigenous people on Australia’s constitution, in Australia’s history. 

Know whose land you live on – refer to the Aiatsis Map To find out

Dates to be aware of that are of significance to Indigenous people:

  • National Close the Gap Day (19 Mar)
  • Sorry Day (26 May)
  • Reconciliation Week (27 May – 03 Jun)
  • Mabo Day (03 Jun)
  • Naidoc Week (7-14 Jul)* dates change each year
  • International Day of The World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 Aug)
  • Indigenous Literacy Day (4 Sep)

Learning Through Entertainment:


Kings & Queens Spotify PlaylistFt over 90 australian artists of colour (and counting) 

Books about/by Indigenous Australians:

Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe

Welcome to Country – Marcia Langton

Tell Me Why – Archie Roach

Growing up Aboriginal in Australia – Anita Heiss

Talking to My Country – Stan Grant 

Books for allies:

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X.Kendi

Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad

White Fragility – Robin Diangelo

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge


Tiddas 4 tiddas – targeted towards women (Tiddas means “sister”)

Pretty For An Aboriginal – hosted by Nakkiah Lui & Miranda Tapsell 

Hey Aunty! – fireside chats w/ black women fems & non-binary fam who’ve been there

Take It Blak – hosted by Nitv News online team

A Cuppa & A Yarn – run by NSW Aboriginal Land Council 

Unravel – true crime series

Movies & TV shows:

Mystery Road (2013) – movie (crime drama)

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) – movie (drama)

Redfern Now (2012) – TV series (drama)

Sweet Country (2018) – movie (drama)

Samson And Delilah (2009) – movie (drama/romance)

Storm Boy (1976) – movie (drama/family)

Bran Nue Dae (2010) – movie (musical/comedy)

The Sapphires (2012) – movie (musical/comedy)

Top End Wedding (2019) – movie (comedy/romcom) 


“In My Blood It Runs” 2020 (84 mins)

Observational feature documentary following 10-year-old Arrernte Aboriginal boy Dujuan as he grows up* (this was being shown in cinemas just as coronavirus hit, as such they are doing limited virtual viewings)

Utopia” 2013 (110 mins)

Investigating Australia’s dysfunctional relationship with Indigenous Australians by focusing on the practices of 225 years of popular media, big business, police forces & governments.  

“Westwind – Djalu’s Legacy” 2018 (87 mins)

A film following Djalu Gurruwiwi – an internationally revered musician, craftsman & spiritual leader, and his son, on an important journey of passing on knowledge between generations. Featuring musician Gotye and artist Ghostpatrol

The Australian Dream” 2019 (60 mins)

The remarkable story of Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes

“Gurrumul” 2017 (96 mins)

The story of blind Indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, one of Australia’s most important and acclaimed voices, filmed over the course of 10 years

The 2020 sydney film festival is also streaming on demand currently, featuring documentaries such as Our Law And The Skin Of Others”.

Short clips:

Get Krack!n – Miranda Tapsell speaking Nakkiah Lui’s Words (0:55)

The Today Show “Change The Date Discussion” Ft. Brooke Boney (3:35)

Yokayi Footy Intro Ft. Tony Armstrong (1:43)

White Privilege” by Kyla Jenee Lacey (3:38)

Excerpt from “City Of Gold” by Meyne Wyatt (3:41)

Activities to partake in:

Indigenous walks & tours in Sydney – (these can be found in most major cities)

Attend the 22Nd Biennale of Sydney – “Nirin” – curated by Brook Andrew, the first Indigenous Australian artist to be appointed the position. Events can be attended online or in person. 

Attend Indigenous events such as Yabun Festival (Sydney – 26 Jan) & Yluk-ut Weelan Ngargee (Melbourne – 01 Feb). You can find large scale indigenous events in your area by referring to the following:



New South Wales


Social media accounts to follow:


Blak Business


Seed Mob


Drmngnow (Instagram)

Wrong Kind Of Black (Twitter)

Nakkiah Lui (Twitter)

Audacious Aboriginal (Twitter)

Angryblakwoman (Twitter)

Briggs (Twitter)

Hayden Moon (Twitter)

Blak businesses & BIPOC Creatives:


Haus Of Dizzy

Nungala Creative


Koorie Circle Earrings


Gammin Threads



Ginnys Girl Gang



Walkabout Clothing


Clothing The Gap

Siren Sais


Liandra Swim

Indii Swimwear


Nood (cleaning products)

Lowanna (skincare)

Bush Medijina (skincare)

Jarin Street (yoga mats & towels)

Earth Blended (aromatherapy)


Charlotte Allingham (coffinbirth)

Rachael Sarra

Aretha Brown (enterthedragon)

Paaka Designs

Jeremy Donovan

Otis Hope Carey


Lakkari Pitt

Miimi & Jiinda


Yukul Art

Kik Design

Matakupaat Arts

Goldstank (illustrator)

Molly Hunt (illustrator)


Gianna Hayes 


Ivy Mutuku 


Kobla Photography 

Other creatives:

Moreblessing Maturure (writer)

Kirli Saunders (writer)

Georgia Mae (writer/activist)

Ma-musu Kubga Nyande (host)

Notombi Moyo (sylist)

Podpaste (podcast production)

Giddo Films (cinematographer)

Amrita (choreographer)

Louvey Yapali (music PR at Gyrostream)

Flex Mami (presenter/DJ)

Follow Trading Blak on Instagram or head to Supply Nation for more businesses .

Sign petitions:

Reduce Indigenous Incarceration

Asking for an audit into the 1991 Royal Commission, and end to mandatory sentencing, a focus on prevention & rehabilitation rather than punishment, and a review of legislation, policies & programs.

Close The Gap

Showing support for front line services and programs that are achieving success in closing the life expectancy gap between First Nations people and their fellow non-Indigenous citizens.

Change The Date

Move Australia Day from 26 January, a painful day for many that marks the start of colonisation.

Fly The Aboriginal Flag

Petition to fly the Aboriginal flag 365 days a year on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

3 steps Towards Real Reconciliation In Australia

Petition created by musician Ziggy Ramo to do 3 things: destroy the flag, destroy the anthem & destroy Australia Day – three bare minimum steps towards real reconciliation.

Change The Licensing Agreement Around The Aboriginal Flag

A non-Indigenous business currently holds copyright over the Aboriginal flag image.

Joint Statement In Support Of A First People Voice In Parliament

White allies supporting the Uluru statement from the heart.

Prevent Another Aboriginal Death In Custody

Petition to release John Webster from immigration detention, as he is suffering from metastatic cancer and polycystic kidney disease and has only been given a short time to live.

Justice For George Floyd

Addressed to Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey & Da Mike Freeman .

Quick graphics for allies :

10 Steps tT Non-Optical Allyship – Mireille Harper

How To Ally: Do’s & Don’ts – Waste Free Marie

How To Talk To Your Family About Racism (A Guide For White People) – Jenerous

I Want To Be An Ally But I Don’t Know What To Do – Nungala Creative

Understanding Microaggressions – Stephanie Shepherd

Where to donate :


**don’t forget if you cannot donate money, you can donate time! Majority of these organisations have ways to get involved as a volunteer!**

Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT

First free Aboriginal legal service in Aus, working in criminal law, children’s care & protection law, and family law.

Deadly Connections

Aboriginal community lead program developing holistic programs to help break the cycle of disadvantage and trauma and address the over-representation of aboriginal people in the child protective & justice system.

Black Rainbow

National advocacy platform & touchpoint for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA peoples.

Change The Record

Aboriginal led justice coalition, working to end the incarceration of, and family violence against, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.

Healing Foundation

Aboriginal lead organisation partnering with communities to address intergenerational trauma of colonisation & child removal.

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Book industry charity working to lift literacy levels in remote indigenous communities.

Freeher Gofundme

Funds raised will pay warrants for women based in WA (mainly single Aboriginal mothers) who cannot pay their fines for poverty & homelessness (which if not paid are punishable by imprisonment – many of which single mothers cannot afford).

For an even more extensive list of options (including state by state organisations) please see this list put together by Kira Puru.

USA Black Lives Matter movement:

See here for an incredibly useful source of information where you can choose exactly where you would like to donate your money (to victims, protesters, black owned businesses, organisations or other important places), and you will be given a shortlist of options.

Get educated pt. 2

For those who want to continue their education…

The Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy (2019-ongoing) – VIC roads initially proposed to bulldoze more than 260 Djap Wurrung trees to make way for a 12 km duplication of the Western Highway between Buangor and Ararat. This includes a number of sacred trees including an 800 year old birthing tree and a 350 year old directions tree, all of which hold huge cultural significance to the owners of the land. They have since set up camps on country in protest, in a battle that is still ongoing. You can sign a petition here

The NT Intervention (2007) – a set of policies introduced by the Howard government in response to the little children are sacred report, which claimed that neglect & sexual abuse of children in Indigenous communities has reached crisis levels. This was a highly controversial issue and continues to be hotly debated by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. 

Rio Tinto destroys 46,000 yr old sacred cave (May 2020) – as part of the expansion of their iron ore mine in western Pilbara, Rio tTnto have blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 & 2, Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years, causing significant distress to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama traditional land owners. 

The Maralinga nuclear tests (1956-1963) – the British government detonated 7 atomic bombs (one twice the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima) in Maralinga, in South Australia’s remote Great Victoria Desert, destroying the land and leaving 400,000 cubic metres of plutonium contaminated soil. To test levels of strontium (an isotope that is the by-product of nuclear bombs), they exhumed over 1500 bones of mainly deceased infants, often without the knowledge or permission of the parents of the dead. You can watch a 2020 documentary about the nuclear tests Here.  

Mabo vs Queensland 2 (3 June, 1992) – led by Eddie Kioiki Mabo (an activist for the 1967 referendum), the Mabo case was a legal case fighting the concept that Australia & the Torres Strait Islands were not owned by Indigenous peoples because they did not “use” the land in ways europeans believe constituted some kind of legal possession. Following the Mabo decision, federal parliament passed the native title act 1993, establishing a legal framework for native title claims throughout Australia by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. “Mabo Day” is celebrated on 3 June every year in recognition of Eddie’s work.  

The Handback: Uluru Is Returned To Its Traditional Owners (26 oct, 1985) – in the early 1900’s, the land around Uluru was declared an Aboriginal reserve. By 1950 Uluru was extracted from the reserve and declared Ayers Rock National Park, encouraging tourism. It wasn’t until 26 Oct, 1985 that governor general Sir Ninian Stephen handed over the title deeds to Anangu traditional owners (who then signed a lease back to the parks & wildlife service for 99 years). The Uluru climb closed permanently on 26 oct, 2019. 

More comprehensive resources:

Australian #blacklives Matter Action + Resource Document

First Nation Resource Directory

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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