Discrimination Impacting Indigenous Culture in Business

Discrimination Impacting Indigenous Culture in Business

Word Count:  1.350 words


Indigenous culture may be considered the bedrock of authentic and intrinsic appreciation of oneself through community, norms, knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other

capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society (Eddy 1992). Despite the numerous and intricate tweaks made to original cultures with the coming of colonisation, some aspects of the same have been upheld, maintained and passed on through generations. The seminar brought to light the various challenges of a society that tries to revert to its original indigenous culture yet having being marred by the guiles of colonial powers. The Aborigines of Australia as prioritized in this discussion have been subject to pain and loss of loved ones through separations and colonial rule. The words of Margaret Harrison an Aboriginal Resident of Ebenezer Station in 1884, hung heavy when she said, “Please would you allow me to have my two daughters with me here (another) one of them died and I have not seen her before she died and I should like the other two, to be with me and comfort me. Please do not disappoint me for my heart is breaking to have them with me. Please to send them up here as I cannot leave this station. Please do ask Mr Stahle to let them come” (Grimshaw (1999).

Her quote, famously titled, ”My heart is breaking,” tells of a time of great pain and peril. The same was instigation by the false notion of Terra Nullius, which is a Latin term from Roman Law meaning “Land belonging to no one”. This notion was perpetuated in the colonial period which perpetuated the idea of sovereignty to the land being dictated by the occupation of the person (Seminar 2.1). It was also assumed that the Aborigins had no use of the land (Drislane & Parkinson 1999). However, research in history asserts that they were more connected to their land, family, culture and community despite intercultural dynamics and the fact that they were prevalently semi-nomadic to allow for the recuperation of natural ecology (Broome 2005). In this paper, we shall analyse how the notions perpetuated over time brought about discrimination against persons of Aboriginal origin and its impact on business today.

Discrimination Impacting Indigenous Culture

According to Eddy (1992), “History is the memory of an individual or community, the story of its identity, and how it became what it now is and can hope to be. Without history, there can be no understanding of the present and the future, no vision and no judgement. Guilt is not a useful tool for Reconciliation.” Although most Aboriginal people have moved on from the pains inflicted upon them in the past, it would asinine to completely ignore history. Being a tool that dictates the present and from whence, the present can culminate into a better future – as in the words of Blaise Pascal – it is essential that we learn from it. Colonial powers thrived on the precepts of fear, discrimination and segregation. Discrimination being the primary tool, besides segregation, was used to demean the Aboriginal community and instil self-doubt. Segregation from the initially tight-knit family constructs brought about a sense of loneliness and only led to more compliance and amalgamation into the newly introduced mannerisms and cultures. John Cook’s voyage was essential in asserting how in tune the Aboriginal communities were with their kinship, culture, morals, land and peaceful way of life (Williams 1981). The tumultuous period of colonization robbed them of their notion of self both in identity and preservation.

Application in Business

Businesses in Australia, are faced with the problem of ensuring that there is an all-inclusive workforce free from discrimination or undertones of racism. While this is a major human resource (HR) issue, it begs to question of how this diversified workforce is organised to reaffirm trust and confidence in every individual. Based on the examples provided in the seminar, Kayla and Travis find themselves in somewhat-impossible situations that we are forced to enumerate. While their situations mimic the forms of interpersonal and internalised racism respectively, it is hard to find an exact cause for worry and fault. In my opinion, it is relatively hard to call out the notions perpetuated and the underlying effects of those words on Kayla and Travis. While their textbook definitions pinpoint such actions, it would be impossible to materialize the said claims with tangible proof of specific bias against the affected persons.

Kayla, on one hand, may have health problems due to her Aboriginal roots. Research shows that the prevalence of eugenics in a bid to eliminate hereditary health conditions was prevalent in Australia during the time of colonization. The encouragement to mix interracially through marriages and childbearing was aimed at improving the human race (Seminar 2.1). Kayla’s health problems may have arisen from such eventualities and in the case where a colleague makes such comments, they may get defensive backing their comments on such scientifically proven research. Travis on the other hand has a problem with the discomfort of his supervisor having a relatively more learned perspective of the Aboriginal community unlike him. He may feel inadequate in his base knowledge but his supervisor may only use her knowledge to help spark a conversation and help him feel settled into the new school environment. In both cases, it might be assumed that the causes are justified but the effects tend to tip on the adversity side of the scale.

How the Relational Nature of Creative Practice Can Inform Understanding of the Importance of Lived Experiences to Business Situation

Perspectives based on lived experiences tend to stick more with us than we give as much credit for. In cases where diversity in race, morality, culture and other factors are involved, it would be wise to undertake seminars and workshops that steer employees in the right direction as stipulated in the organizational culture (Drislane & Parkinson 1999). Businesses are highly dependent on the efficiency of the employees to work individually and as a team. Teamwork may go a long way in asserting problems in the chain either through communication or offers of help where need be. Fostering a unity of purpose through the understanding of beauty in diversity will enable a business to benefit from its advantages. The individual input of every employee will result in greater and better results.

Colleagues such as the one bothering Kayla with hurtful comments on her health issues should be warned against such comments and educated on how to deal with diversity in the workplace. It would be easier to undertake training sessions that elaborate on why diversity is important and that insensitive comments derail the quality of work done and diminishes the safety and serious nature of the workplace (Davidson 2019). The supervisor to Travis may as well be indoctrinated to the fact that not all persons of a certain origin may be privy to all information about the said community. Considering how dynamic the Australian population is at the moment, a small minority still uphold the original cultural structures and beliefs of the Aboriginal community in their entirety (Davidson 2019).


The essay has demonstrated that indigenous culture is an essential part of the self. The dismemberment of communal structure and lands as faced by the Aboriginal community is a great peril to structure and history. While most ideals have been lost to the winds of time, the sense of belonging to society and culture ought to be maintained (Broome 2005). The intercultural dynamics as perpetuated at the workplace should, as a result, reflect the appreciation of diversity in the community.


Broome, R. (2005). Aboriginal Victorians: A History since 1800. Crows Nest. New South Wales: Allen and Unwin.

Davidson, A. K. (2019). Culture and Ecclesiology: The Church Missionary Society and New Zealand. In The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999 (pp. 198-227). Routledge.

Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (1999). Online dictionary of the social sciences.

Eddy, J. J. (1992). Recognition, reconciliation and history.

Grimshaw, P. (1999). Colonising Motherhood: evangelical social reformers and Koorie women in Victoria, Australia, 1880s to the early 1900s. Women’sHistory Review8(2), 329-346.

Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training, Seminar 2.1

Williams, G. (1981). ‘Far more happier than we Europeans’: Reactions to the Australian aborigines on cook’s voyage. Australian Historical Studies19(77), 499-512.

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