CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
It seems an Acknowledgement Of First Nation’s Sovereignty in a work email signature wasn’t enough to protect one of Betoota’s most progressive start-up CEOs from making an excruciating gaffe this afternoon.
Cathy Purdoch is the founder of SQUIRTLE a culinary condiments delivery service, that is well known in the tech hub of Betoota’s Old City District for their commitment to sustainability and Indigenous rights.
That’s why today’s Friday drinks were NAIDOC themed, because Cathy and her colleagues feel it is important to join our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters in celebration of the oldest continuing culture on our planet.
With a special NAIDOC playlist of Midnight Oil and Goanna blaring in the common area, software developers and middle management account directors begin mingling over a few knock off drinks.
The red, yellow and black streamers are blue-tacked across the windows, the heart and soul of Australia’s first peoples are vibrating throughout this room of mostly white people and a few Indians.
However, there is one man here that may be able to speak further to the experience of the Indigenous peoples.
Wally, the 35-year-old Maori-Australian head of sales.
As Cathy wraps up her fourth Acknowledgement of Country for the day, she turns her attention to the one BIPOC-identifying person in the office.
“Wal, would you like to get up and say something” asks Cathy.
Everyone in the office turns to Wally, most of them failing to see the catastrophic cultural gaffe that has just been made in front of them.
“Me?” asks Wal.
“Why the fuck should I say anything?” he asks, using a tone not often trotted out in front of his yuppie bosses.
Cathy still hasn’t clocked it.
“I just thought, you might want to say something”
“You know, as a…” she begins trailing off.
Wal cocks an eyebrow.
“As a what?” he asks, trying to remain as non-confrontational as possible, so as to not become the aggressive black guy.
“My dad is from Whakatane. I grew up on the Gold Coast. I haven’t even met an Aboriginal person before”
Cathy takes his rather valid point on board.
“Fair enough” she says, before scanning the room.
“What about you, Mohammad?”