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Why We Have Cultural Education Week at Canva

Learn more about our Cultural Education Week — a week of learning directly from our First Nations communities to help build awareness and a more inclusive society for everyone.


January 26 is upon us again, bringing to the forefront the ongoing discussions around cultural education and what this day means for our First Nations community here in Australia.

At Canva, we’ve been reflecting and learning together in the lead up to January 26, especially when it comes to the important role each person can play in driving change. That’s why we started Cultural Education Week — a week of learning directly from our First Nations communities to help build awareness and a more inclusive society for everyone.

Why do we need Cultural Education Week?

For many, the first things that come to mind when we talk about ‘Australia Day’ include:

  • Celebrations with friends
  • Citizenship ceremonies
  • An obsession with lamb (even though sheep aren’t native to Australia!)

As an Aboriginal person, January 26 means something completely different to me. To understand the impact, we first need to remind ourselves about what happened on this day in 1788. As many of us know, January 26 marks the landing of the First Fleet at Warrang (Sydney Cove) and the raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip. For our Aboriginal communities, the date signifies the loss of significant forms of First Nations cultures, land, rights and ways of life.

As a proud Worimi man from the Forster-Tuncurry region of NSW, I see so many things about our nation to be proud of and to celebrate — but January 26 doesn’t make up Australia or Australia Day.

What’s Cultural Education Week?

The first step in understanding the impact of this date, and the power everyone has to influence change, comes from continued education. Social bias can form when there is a lack of knowledge about our history, which is why initiatives like our Cultural Education Week are so important.

If you’d like to learn more about Australia’s history and the impact of January 26 on First Nations peoples, we’ve pulled together some of the resources shared during our internal Cultural Education Week below. You’re also welcome to pass these resources onto your own teams or communities, or to start a Cultural Education Week of your own.

Change and awareness starts with open conversations

I know it might seem uncomfortable to bring this topic up for fear it’s too sensitive. Know that it’s okay — we want you to talk about it, and not just on January 26. Start conversations with your colleagues, mates and family members. Share how you feel and what you’ve learned.

We all have the power to impact change. Only through conversations are we able to reach more people and continue the important journey of cultural education. However, it’s also important to remember to be understanding of other people’s thoughts and opinions too. If you need guidance on how to navigate conversations around January 26, without ‘ruining the BBQ’ (i’d say it improves it), The Guardian Australia has published a helpful guide(opens in a new tab or window) with some useful conversation starters.

Other ways you, your teammates or your friends and family can help amplify Indigenous voices include attending Covid-safe events that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and supporting First Nations businesses, organisations and individuals year-round.

I hope these resources help to shine more light on the impact of January 26 for Australia’s Indigenous community, and the learning opportunities available to everyone, to better understand the impact of the day.

Written by

Josh Brown

Josh is a proud Worimi man from the Forster-Tuncurry region in Australia. He works closely with Canva to build and guide our cultural awareness programs.


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