Cultural and community induction

Critical to Yuwaya Ngarra-li’s work and informed by socio-legal theory and advocacy regarding Indigenous self-determination, research and knowledge is the development of relationships of trust between DEG and UNSW collaborators, a core component being a process of induction at the university and the community. This is critical for the quality of YN’s work, and to ensure that all research and activities are genuinely respectful of and accountable to community experiences and priorities. The engagement of UNSW staff and students involves intensive processes of dialogue and induction to ensure common understandings and processes for collaboration.

After the DEG Elders Council has invited a potential collaborator to work to support the vision of YN, they undertake a day’s program of induction led by trusted Aboriginal scholars at UNSW which focuses on the laws, policies and practices that created the discrimination and disadvantages experienced by many Aboriginal people in Walgett and the context for YN’s approach. Once they have completed this first phase of induction, potential collaborators are supported to visit Walgett to undertake a community induction. This requires a process of deep listening as participants are guided through a program of learning developed and led by DEG, including introductions to nearby Country. This process can be draining for Walgett Elders and staff and is carefully scheduled. DEG assesses if potential staff and student collaborators are prepared to work in a genuinely community-led way, putting aside their own academic priorities and timeframes where necessary to centre community impact and outputs.