Understanding Indigenous culture is something that a lot of us can work on, but luckily at Buslink we have our resident NT expert, Colin Majid, Community Engagement Manager, to help us out.
Part of Colin’s role in Darwin is working with the city’s youths to combat antisocial behaviour and road safety, but another part of his job is raising cultural awareness and understanding of the Indigenous culture within the driver and employee ranks.
Colin, an Indigenous man himself who was born on Thursday Island and grew up in Darwin, said he just tries to give employees a basic appreciation of how Indigenous people live and help the non-Indigenous population understand the other perspectives.
“I just try to offer a bit more understanding and insight into why Indigenous people behave the way they do and explain some parts of their culture that others don’t understand,” he said.
Topics Colin covers include ceremony, sacred/ceremonial sites, walkabout, social order, clans and kingships, isolation and outcasting, long grasser, living rough, bush camps and speaking loudly.
“Indigenous people are loud, so when they get on the bus, the volume increases,” Colin said.
He gave an example of bridging the cultural divide after a ‘ride along’ where he observed a couple loudly arguing, and later discovered the driver of the bus had put in a routine end-of-shift report, following standard procedure required for incidents or disturbances onboard.
He said he spoke with the driver, explaining that the Indigenous people were “just loud”.
He said his talks were “evolving all the time” and that he wasn’t an expert but tries to share what he’s learnt from his own experiences. The cultural sessions have been a vital development program throughout the business, as core training opportunities.
They were so popular, when first introduced, the sessions were implemented as an ongoing opportunity for all Buslink employees.