Sydney Swans host Cultural Awareness Training Program
The Sydney Swans continue to be a leader in Indigenous reconciliation within the AFL community after hosting a Cultural Awareness Training Program aimed at educating the players and staff about the cultural diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
For the past two weeks, AFLSportsReady Program Manager Leon Egan has delivered a series of lectures at the SCG to every member of the playing group in an AFL first.
Mr. Egan – an Aboriginal man with strong family ties to Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara countries – used compelling statistics and imagery during the half-day presentations.
Central to the seminar is the tarnished history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since the arrival of British settlers, the inter-generational impacts of the Aborigines Protection Act and what steps people can take to bring about positive cultural change.
“It’s to raise awareness, particularly AFL clubs, so they have some more understanding of their Indigenous players,” Mr. Egan said.
“So they’re able to be better supported, not only the players they have but players of the future. Also, a big part of your supporter base is Aboriginal.
“Predominately, it’s all about having that understanding of where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are coming from.”
The Sydney Swans have played an active role in Australia’s reconciliation journey. The club’s vision, values and culture are all aligned to promote a deeper respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The club also has a proud history of Indigenous players with Lance Franklin and Abe Davis the remaining pair in a group that included Adam Goodes and Lewis Jetta as recently as last season.
Egan paid tribute to Goodes at the conclusion of the sessions, paying homage to the 372-gamer’s legacy that he has left not only on the Sydney Swans but the game.
“What’s important to Adam, from my understanding, is bringing non-Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Australians together so we can all move forward,” Mr. Egan added.
“He’s always been consistent in his messaging in relation to his beliefs. He’s paved the way for future Indigenous footballers to know that they’re coming to a safe and welcoming environment.
“He’s an amazing person and the legacy he’s left, not only Adam but Michael O’Loughlin. The club is indebted to them.”
The programs are also used as a tool for organisations to build culturally inclusive workplaces and build effective working relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
For more information on the Cultural Awareness Training Program, visit www.aflsportsready.com.au/indigenous
DATE: 26 February, 2016
AUTHOR: Luke McManus, originally published on SydneySwans.com.au