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Governance & Nation Building in Indigenous Communities

Tips On How to Embed Cultural Values in Your Governance

If you want your community-based organisation to be culturally legitimate and accountable to its diverse members, you need to:
  • clarify exactly what kind of governance you want to have and what role you want cultural values to have in your organisation
  • know the different cultural groups of your members and the wider community, as well as their interconnections and their different rights and interests
  • consult with the leaders and members of these groups so that you understand their concerns and priorities
  • be open, fair and honest in dealings and decisions with leaders and their groups
  • respect different land ownership rights and interests
  • understand the governance history of the community and how that has shaped its current relationships, governance arrangements and problems
  • discuss with community members and leaders which cultural values, rules, relationships and processes might specifically strengthen the way your organisation operates
  • be clear about which cultural values, rules, relationships and processes will be part of your organisation’s governance, and which ones are not appropriate or might undermine it
  • be clear about how cultural rules and values will be implemented within your organisation—for example, you may want to focus on the way leaders are chosen, how decisions are made, what behaviour is expected of board and staff members, the conditions of work and how you feed information back to members
  • tell community members and leaders where the organisation is heading, what the strategic plan is for getting there, and what resources will be used along the way
  • report back to members on your progress and problems
  • manage your resources wisely and effectively
  • deliver the services and outcomes that you’ve promised to your members and the wider community.

(From https://toolkit.aigi.com.au/toolkit/2-1-indigenous-governance-and-culture)

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