First Nations Ways of Being: Cultural Awareness and Safety in the Aged Care Sector

Marheine G1, Huxley N1, McCallum R2




First Nations Ways of Being: Cultural Awareness and Safety in the Aged Care Sector

In a multi-cultural country like Australia, cultural awareness is essential. It is especially so, in relation to our unique First Nations Peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Policies of colonisation, intergenerational trauma and the recorded and lived atrocities of First Nations People, over the past 223 years, continue to have a legacy impact on generations today and greatly affect the ability of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – especially from the Stolen Generation, to trust and accept the high quality and safe care they deserve.

The Aged Care Quality Standards and the Aged Care Diversity Framework are designed to support the older person receiving aged care services, encompassing the breadth of cultural diversity of our Australian society. Organisations are not only encouraged but it is recommended, that all employees complete Cultural Awareness and Safety Training, to increase the collective understanding of the cultural nuances of care required to effectively respond to the needs of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Peoples.

The Cultural Awareness and Safety program is designed specifically for aged care, utilising both applied and action research. Combined with a fusion of First Nations’ ways of knowing and being, the program offers materials from reputable sources and demonstrates appropriate cultural protocols.

Designed with consideration to the learning preferences of First Nations Peoples, the meaningful content is delivered through a diverse range of media and activities – video, music, pictures, yarning, sounds, reading, PowerPoints and engages the participant to ‘walk the walk’ through appropriate activities to reinforce learning. All material delivered has been guided via a peer review process.

Join us and increase your understanding, and embed cultural safety and awareness, in your practice of delivering aged care services to the First Nations Peoples.


Gai is a Darug woman from Mulgoa and Cabrogal with connections across Sydney and NSW. I was born in Sydney and have a diverse background with African, Irish, and Scottish ancestry, with a nursing, education and lived cultural skills, i have been lucky to combine  and share my knowledge to the aged care sector.

Naomi Huxley is a proud Saltwater woman, my mob are Yanyuwa from Borroloola, and Vanderlin Island in the Northern Territory. I’m from a culturally diverse background, with Spanish Filipino, Italian, Irish, and South African ancestry. I was born on the South Coast of South Australia. My passion lies in education, teaching, mentoring, building aspirations, and sharing my Aboriginal Culture.

I have worked in the government, private sector, and in higher education at universities for over 15 Years across a myriad of roles. I have experience, researching, writing, developing, and delivering programs, teaching content to diverse audiences, mentoring students, at primary, high school, and university. I have experience in Indigenous Engagement, Employment, Strategic Policy and Development, Cultural Capability Coaching for all sectors, aligning with Indigenous knowledge and Leadership.

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