How to be a great ally post-referendum

How to be a great ally post-referendum

The referendum has caused significant emotional pressure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and we need everyone to be compassionate at this time.

As you are probably aware, Magpie Goose chose to shut down our store to participate in a ‘Week of Silence’. A strategy we adopted across our other business Blaklash , and not-for-profit gallery, Aboriginal Art Co, as it allowed us and our Indigenous staff some time to concentrate on self-care, taking a moment to pause, breathe, reflect and process what has happened and reset. 

We love the Magpie Goose community and we are very grateful for the overwhelming support and understanding shown through our social media platforms during this time!

For this reason, we know many of you are wondering what you can do to support our community, so, we have put together a short list of ways to you can continue to action your allyship in a respectful and appropriate way.  

  1. Just listen
Please resist the urge to bring up a discussion about the referendum with First Nations people whom you don’t know. As much as you share the feeling of a heavy heart and you want to show empathy, please understand that raising the topic, crying and discussing the referendum at length with Aboriginal people you don’t know, is a very insensitive act.
Our community is diverse in our beliefs, actions and reactions so follow our lead when it comes to post-referendum dialogues. If a First Nations person is comfortable enough to have the conversation, just listen. Respond with acceptance - don't argue, defend or make excuses but make it known that you are listening without judgement.  
  1. Educate yourself

Learn about the history of this country by reading texts written by Aboriginal authors. Try to understand the impact of colonisation, dispossession, and the ongoing systemic racism that Aboriginal communities have to endure. There are so many resources out there, don't ask us for answers, do the research or simply 'google' it.

If reading isn’t your strong point, you can learn so much through Aboriginal music and contemporary art. Seek out and follow Aboriginal creatives so you're hearing First Nations voices alongside others. 

  1. Build relationships

You can build great relationships by consistently showing up when an invitation is extended. Local Aboriginal organisations often host events and activities open to the wider community; this is an opportunity to support through attendance.

Introduce yourself each time but understand that meaningful relationships are developed over time. If you feel like you can go further with your support, you can express your interest in volunteering or pledge a donation.

  1. Shut down racism

Australia is known for its casual racism and sadly it’s become more overt in the lead up to the referendum. We need everyone’s help to stop this hurtful behaviour. If you witness racism or discrimination towards First Nations people please speak out, if it is safe to do so, and let the perpetrator know that it’s not okay, take evidence and report the incident.

Together we can take a united stand against racism.    

  1. Support Indigenous-led businesses, initiatives and organisations
Follow and support Indigenous-led ventures. You don’t have to necessarily spend more, we don’t promote over consumption, but shop consciously when you buy. You will be surprised at how many Indigenous products there are available on the market that can swapped out of your everyday consumables. Of course, there is also an abundance of beautiful art, gifts and things for special occasions too. 
By providing economic support, you are proactively supporting us to be self-determined and build a sustainable future for our community. Did you know Indigenous businesses are 100% more likely to employ Indigenous staff?
Financial independence has great flow on effects. When there is stable income and housing, it significantly increases ones social and emotional well-being. (That's our 'why' across all of our businesses.) 
  1. Share positive stories of Aboriginal culture, community and Country.

All Australians should be proud of the First Nations people of this country! We are the oldest continuous living culture in the world. We are experts of our environments, landscape, animals and weather patterns, etc. We are the first scientists, inventors and remain great innovators as we evolve, adapt, and adopt new technologies. We are resilient, and, despite colonisation, we are still here.

Magpie Goose’s core business is to share positive stories and offer insights into diverse Aboriginal cultures across the country. Each garment is a conversation starter. It is a very easy and visual way to show your allyship and pride in First Nations culture. When you received a compliment, it provides the opportunity to talk about your support of our community.

Wearing Indigenous fashion is a great way to foster a sense of connection and belonging, as a lot of us are feeling alienated from mainstream society right now. The referendum caused a lot of hurt, disempowerment and feelings of rejection, but now, more than ever, a statement of unity would not go unnoticed.  

We need the wider community to approach these efforts with humility, respect, and a genuine commitment to understanding and addressing the unique needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people. It's important to be mindful of cultural diversity among Aboriginal communities and to tailor your support accordingly.

The Voice to Parliament was not enshrined into the Australian constitution but this doesn’t mean you can’t listen, learn and stand beside us.