Strait Experience is committed to providing services to the region that respects the unique qualities of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture which are found inside the region. We recognise that understanding culture is a stepping-stone to understanding context. As you can appreciate it would be impossible to try and explain all the protocols of a culture which has existed since time immemorial. Yet below we tried to highlight some key points which can often be a starting point for misunderstandings or unintended offence. This will also a better experience for you as a traveller.
Most Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in the Torres Strait region will in one way or another emphasise or relate to the following 3 points:
- Do not speak English as a first language and in some cases, English is a second or third language,
- May not always be familiar with mainstream Australian terminology, procedures or processes, and
- Have in most cases had a complex inter-generational relationship and history with Australian Governments and non-indigenous Australians.
What can you do?
The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) has developed Cultural Protocols to assist their staff when engaging with communities of the Torres Strait region. These protocols are also valid for recreational travellers and Strait Experience strongly recommends that all travellers into the region take the time to read these protocols.