A cultural discussion – with Bess and Dave Price

20 July 2012

FroJudy Photos July 12 052 smallntier Services staff gained valuable insights into Aboriginal culture after attending a training day at the Centre of Remote Health in Alice Springs.

The day was a success with 28 Frontier Services staff receiving certificates. A highlight was the opening session with presenters Bess and David Price.

Bess Nungarrayi Price is an Australian Indigenous activist and former chair of the Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council.

Born in Yuendumu, her first language is Warlpiri. Bess also knows Luritja, Western Arrernte and Anmatyerre. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtin University and has worked in education and training, public administration, the media, community development, interpreting, translating and language teaching and has experience in small business management. With her husband Dave Price, Bess is a partner with Jajirdi Consultants working in cross cultural awareness training, community liaison and Warlpiri language services.

“The opening session was on Aboriginal culture facilitated by Dave and Bess Price. Dave’s comment that ‘It was great working with your people this morning. What an incredible group’ pretty much sums up the feeling of the day,” commented Judy Ratajec, Manager Professional Development.

The session will ensure that the Frontier Services Professional Development Team can provide socially and culturally sensitive training for staff across its aged and community care services. With a range of different cultural groups within our client base and amongst our staff members, understanding cultural sensitivities and how to negotiate between various cultural differences is very important.

Bess and Dave Price ran the session as an open conversation with the attendees. One of the most interesting parts, of the training, according to Judy, was when Bess, who is an Indigenous woman and Dave, who is a white man, discussed the things they didn’t like about each other’s culture.

Bess answered a question about whether staff should be using the native Indigenous language or English. Interestingly, her answer was English. Bess explained that because staff might say an Indigenous word incorrectly or with the wrong intonation, the client may become confused, or at worse, offended by the way that word was used.

Judy said that this was an important lesson for her team to take back to the services who are working with Indigenous people every day.

Frontier Services has a strong focus on providing services in a way that is respectful and inclusive of the culture and traditions of the people we serve.