An illustration of a man under work stress. He sits at a laptop with his head in his hands

What is Cultural Load? The invisible workload First Nations People are expected to carry

NAIDOC week is over – an annual celebration of the incredible history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. However, for a lot of First Nations People, this week brings extra work and a whole lot of extra pressure – particularly in the workplace.

On this week’s episode of Blak Matters, host Teela Reid discusses the invisible workload that is placed upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to provide cultural knowledge, education and support for their colleagues.

“Now, cultural load in the context of the workplace, it’s the invisible workload Employers knowingly or even unknowingly place on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to provide Indigenous knowledge, education and support,” Teela explained.

“But this is often done without any formally agreed reduction or alteration to their workload. There are plenty of First Nations workers in businesses that during NAIDOC Week, all the extra stuff happens and they get asked and they probably feel like they have to say yes because if they don’t step up and do whatever it is that’s being required, then it’s not going to happen.”

Teela this doesn’t mean that they should stop recognising their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island employees – they just need to be more mindful.

“It’s good to see businesses getting behind NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week. And I suppose the key takeaway is if you’re doing it authentically and you’re doing it with your First Nations employees’ thoughts, feelings, and objectives in mind, not just telling them this is how we’re going to do it, and just pushing them front and centre and making them deal with this cultural load.”

Blak Matters is an inclusive, authentic exploration of First Nations issues and why they matter. Delivered as an honest but positive conversation between friends, MC & Teela Reid, in under 20 minutes.