Australia is made up of hundreds of diverse First Nations Australians, each with their own culture, language, beliefs and practices.
Sport is the ultimate cultural community connector and can contribute to reducing the physical and mental health challenges that these communities currently face.
That is why it is important for clubs to implement strategies for the inclusion of First Nations Australians.
Programs and interventions that are forced or imposed without significant consultation, are unlikely to benefit First Nations Australians or the broader community.
Community-led initiatives and healthy, active role models are important first steps, to increase First Nation Australians' participation in sport.
Best practice examples
NATIONAL ABORIGINAL SPORTING CHANCE ACADEMY (NASCA)
National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to create a strength-based, culturally strong environment.
To remain successful, NASCA’s mentoring programs involve local community and parents and are long term, respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
RUMBALARA FOOTBALL NETBALL CLUB
Rumbalara Football Netball Club is an Aboriginal community run sporting club dedicated to strengthening the Shepparton community by bringing families together through strong vibrant leadership.
The club is a place of belonging that people of all ages and backgrounds can call their own.
JOHN MORIARTY FOOTBALL
John Moriarty Football, named after its co-founder Yanyuwa man John Moriarty AM, the first Aboriginal footballer to be selected to play for Australia, delivers a transformational Indigenous football program for 2-18 year olds. The program uses football (soccer) for talent and positive change and has a track record of improving school attendance and achieving resilient, healthier outcomes for some of Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities.
THE INDIGENOUS MARATHON FOUNDATION
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (established in 2009 by world marathon champion Rob de Castella), is a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate resilience and achievement, creating inspirational Indigenous leaders.
VICTORIAN INDIGENOUS SURFING PROGRAM
The Victorian Indigenous Surfing Program is one of the longest running Indigenous engagement programs in the country. Launching in 1999, the program uses surfing as a way to connect Indigenous Victorians with the ocean whilst learning new skills, water safety and healthy habits.
Strong Aboriginal community leadership and engagement in culturally safe and engaging environments that are inclusive, respectful and flexible, are the core values of the program.
AFL NORTHERN TERRITORY: REMOTE PROJECTS
By harnessing the passion for AFL, remote-based football initiatives, delivered by AFL Northern Territory: Remote projects, save extensive and dangerous travel time to access structured and supported sporting environments. Remote based football programs allow people to play their sport of preference on country of significance, without the potential distractions of urban locations.
Football activities involve targeted messaging and specific programs based on advice from community elders, funding bodies and service providers. The remote projects are delivered in a culturally sensitive manner with consideration for local customs, traditions and cultural practices.
SHARE A YARN
The Share a Yarn initiative provides Australian Elite Athletes with meaningful opportunities to connect and build relationships with First Nations communities, and learn more about the differing cultures, lands, histories, and people within them.