Communication

When consulting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, it is best to be honest, open and sincere in all aspects of communication. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the natural way to communicate information is indirectly. Some may find the direct communication approach by non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people too confronting or find it creates awkwardness. This may lead to failures of communication.

As a general rule:

choose appropriate language and delivery when communicating with the community
avoid using jargon such as technical terms or acronyms. When such terms cannot be avoided give a full explanation
do not use Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language or community words (if you are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) in formal consultations.



When working with Aboriginal people and communities it is important that you are aware of and use appropriate, non-discriminatory and accurate language. Some alternatives for commonly mis-used words are:

Inappropriate
Replace with

ATSI
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Singular and plural
Aborigines
Aboriginal people or Aboriginal community
Plural
Islander
Torres Strait Islander
Singular
Islanders
Torres Strait Islanders or Torres Strait Islander community
Plural


Refer to the following guides for more information and advice on collective names and terms to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and some examples of Aboriginal words used throughout NSW:

Aboriginal words used throughout Australia (PDF, 33KB)
Collective names used to describe Aboriginal people (PDF, 34KB)
Terms associated with Aboriginal communities (PDF, 33KB)
Avoiding inappropriate and offensive terminology (PDF, 32KB)

When consulting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, it is best to be honest, open and sincere in all aspects of communication. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the natural way to communicate information is indirectly. Some may find the direct communication approach by non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people too confronting or find it creates awkwardness. This may lead to failures of communication.

As a general rule:

choose appropriate language and delivery when communicating with the community
avoid using jargon such as technical terms or acronyms. When such terms cannot be avoided give a full explanation
do not use Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language or community words (if you are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) in formal consultations.



When working with Aboriginal people and communities it is important that you are aware of and use appropriate, non-discriminatory and accurate language. Some alternatives for commonly mis-used words are:

Inappropriate
Replace with

ATSI
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Singular and plural
Aborigines
Aboriginal people or Aboriginal community
Plural
Islander
Torres Strait Islander
Singular
Islanders
Torres Strait Islanders or Torres Strait Islander community
Plural


Refer to the following guides for more information and advice on collective names and terms to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and some examples of Aboriginal words used throughout NSW:

Aboriginal words used throughout Australia (PDF, 33KB)
Collective names used to describe Aboriginal people (PDF, 34KB)
Terms associated with Aboriginal communities (PDF, 33KB)
Avoiding inappropriate and offensive terminology (PDF, 32KB)

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Page last updated: 09 April 2018, 09:08