Giving people in remote homelands the opportunity to welcome young people onto their land for a safe and enduring connection
Red Earth is an organisation that enables Elders and Traditional Owners who live in remote Australia to welcome groups onto their land and show them their way of life. We do this by helping people in remote Indigenous Australia organise immersion programs in their communities and homelands where traditional Aboriginal culture still lives strong. During the immersion, students work on projects chosen by Traditional Owners and learn about the rich culture of the land directly from Elders of the local area. Students are welcomed by traditional clans and families on private lands that are not accessible outside of this setting.
We have been doing this for a number of years and have taken schools such as Shore, Sydney Grammar, St Catherine’s, Catholic Ladies College, Pymble Ladies College, Brisbane Grammar, All Hallows’ School, Brigidine Randwick, Marcellin College, Nudgee College, Gregory Terrace, Stuartholme and International Grammar School.
Pick a destination, choose a time, and create your itinerary
Choose a destination, pick a time, and create your itinerary
Although each Immersion Program we organise is a unique experience for all those involved, we strive to ensure that all students who have the opportunity to make a journey to remote Indigenous Australia benefit from a similarly meaningful and enriching journey. From experience, this means encouraging each student to give, grow and lead. These three facets drive everything we offer before, during and after the immersions:
Give by making a meaningful contribution to the lives of people in remote communities and homelands.
Grow by experiencing the oldest living culture in the world in the traditional way that still exists in remote Australia.
Lead before trips by taking part in a targeted and relevant curriculum, driven by pre-departure sessions that encourage students to stand up and take ownership of the journey that awaits them; lead during trips by stepping up to take responsibility for the project and cultural activities; and lead after trips by analysing and reflecting on their journey.
A safe and enduring connection
We place a special emphasis on:
- Allowing remote homelands to welcome students: We have close ties with homelands in Cape York, Arnhem Land and Central Australia that wish to welcome young people onto their land. Homelands are smaller clans or families that have chosen to return to their traditional land. They have a more traditional culture and working on a service project in these places has a much higher impact than doing so in a community.
- Creating an enduring connection: We understand that those in communities want a long-lasting connection to the groups that they welcome. We help ensure that relationships between an Indigenous region and a school is maintained without needing the same school staff having to organise trips year in, year out.
- Safety: Our approach has three dimensions:
- Preparation: Before you have even joined their program, we have already worked non-stop behind the scenes with communities, homelands, Elders and Traditional Owners to make sure that your strict safety and security requirements are met. When the program begins, we work with schools to create a comprehensive risk assessment for all activities that the group will be undertaking.
- Prevention: During the immersion the group stays in safe areas away from the centres of towns, are welcomed and hosted by Traditional Owners. Safety briefings are held each morning and our Immersion Leaders are on the ground well ahead of the group to conduct a final check on all activities.
- Response: We keep a remote first-aid kit and a satellite phone with the group at all times, our Immersion Leaders are certified in Remote First-Aid, and we maintain transport available to the group at all times.
The Immersion Program
Our Immersion Program is comprehensive and aims to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience to students with:
- An early planning phase where students and teachers decide exactly where they will go and what they will do;
- An 8-week pre-departure program delivered in-person and online which covers practical considerations as well as tailored material about Indigenous Australia;
- An 11-day immersion to multiple homelands and communities where the school group works on projects, learns about remote Indigenous culture and sees some of Australia’s most beautiful sights;
- A post-immersion phase with debriefs, a reflection evening and on-going contact with Elders and Red Earth staff.