About Creative Spirits

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Wishing you knew more about Aboriginal culture? Search no more.

Get key foundational knowledge about Aboriginal culture in a fun and engaging way.

This is no ordinary resource: It includes a fictional story, quizzes, crosswords and even a treasure hunt.

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Creative Spirits is evolving

Creative Spirits is on its way towards an Aboriginal-owned and run organisation. Read why

It is a big process and I need all the help I can get. One of the very first steps is to find Aboriginal people interested in joining and to hire an Aboriginal designer and an editor. If you are interested, or know anyone that might be, please get in touch.

Cultural respect for First Peoples

Writing about Aboriginal culture as a person with no Aboriginal heritage requires steps that show that I'm serious about it and do my best to respect culture, customs and Country.

I took guidance from recommendations published by the Australian Council for the Arts and Wiradjuri writer Dr Anita Heiss. Specifically, I

  • acknowledge Country (see bottom of each page),
  • focus on a contemporary understanding of the complexities of Aboriginal culture and histories,
  • prefer to give voice to authentic Aboriginal points of view (via quotes and poems),
  • pay attention to cultural protocols and sensitivities (e.g. accepted terms, requests not to publish),
  • list all my sources at the end of each article,
  • prefer reputable sources,
  • actively combat stereotypes,
  • cite material that has already been published or where I received permission to do so, and that material is not confidential, personal or sacred,
  • ensure the site does not have communally-owned material (e.g. ritual knowledge, creation stories, songs, or traditional or tribal communal designs), and
  • give back to Aboriginal communities via a donation program.

I am aware that, as a member of the dominant culture, I can enjoy more privileges than others. As a human I make mistakes and have unconscious bias.

Giving back

An important part of being an ally is to give back to Aboriginal communities. Healing and learning are close to my heart and have informed my selection of Aboriginal organisations to give back to.

Creative Spirits has supported the following organisations with donations:

  • The Healing Foundation, an Aboriginal-owned and operated organisation that supports the healing of Stolen Generations survivors, families and communities by connecting them back to their culture and spirit.
  • Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education and Training, Australia’s oldest not-for-profit independent Aboriginal education provider. It offers its program to Aboriginal adults from across Australia in a culturally supportive environment.
  • Yalari, a not-for-profit organisation that offers full boarding school scholarships for Aboriginal children from regional, rural and remote communities for their entire secondary education.
  • Darkinjung Barker School for Aboriginal students at Yarramalong on the Central Coast. The school focuses on strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for Aboriginal students from Kindergarten to Year 6.

I've spent hundreds of dollars supporting Aboriginal events, artists, filmmakers and musicians by attending their performances or buying their products and artworks. From my critics I know that giving back is important, and I'm working on doing more in this area.

What do Aboriginal people say?

Aboriginal peoples and their views are as diverse as in any other group. And the overwhelming majority of my Aboriginal visitors recognise my intention to work and support as a non-Aboriginal ally and help readers learn about Aboriginal culture.

Here is what some of them have said:

"Thanks for spreading the word," says Wamba Wamba woman Laura, "and thank you for your cultural sensitivity which I feel lately has been very lacking from the general public."

And Coralie, an Aboriginal poet, writes: "As an Aborigine I thank you for your well researched contribution to Aboriginal culture. May your Creative Spirits linger forever more."

"Thank you for the deadly site – it is the one of the best most honest sites for info I reckon,” says Trevor Walker from the Walbunja and Brinja people, Yuin nation (south coast NSW).

Gamilaraay man Dave thinks that this website "is truthful and current and reflects the beauty and sacredness of my people's culture and history."

"Good looking site. Must confess I was initially nervous to see a non-Indigenous created site but your information looks great and you show great respect,” admits Denise Freeman from koorikullas.com.

Craig from Melbourne shares: "I commend you on your work and understanding of our culture as l wish that many more people would take your lead and have understanding."

Truth-telling

The Uluru Statement From the Heart, written by Aboriginal people from all over Australia in 2017, is, among other things, a call to ordinary Australians to acknowledge and embrace Aboriginal history and help others about it. I understand this website as a contribution to that truth-telling process.

I would very much like to see through local government and civil society, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, a true process of national truth-telling. [It] is going to be so transformative for Australia, and I know that Australia wants it to happen.

— Linda Burney, Wiradjuri woman and Member of the Australian House of Representatives

Since several years the National Library of Australia, via their Pandora service, periodically archives this site, because they consider it “to be an important component of the national documentary heritage”.

Story: Once upon a time… (How Creative Spirits started)

Many years ago, after I had finished my studies in Germany, I visited the Australian Embassy to apply for a visa because I wanted to go backpacking there.

“Visa?” asked the man behind the counter after he had gone through my paperwork. “You are going home, mate!” he exclaimed, seeing that I was born there. (I was two years old when my parents returned to Germany.)

After my travels I started Creative Spirits, initially to document my experiences and the places I had visited in Australia, especially those with an Aboriginal significance. Two more Aussie holidays followed until I decided to go back and live there. I felt a strong urge, a call of the land.

As I learned more and more about Aboriginal culture I wanted to share this information. A few paragraphs in each section slowly grew into the largest and most visited part of my website, so much so that I now dedicate Creative Spirits to help you learn about one of the most neglected topics in this country: Aboriginal culture.

Go and have fun exploring!

Picture of Jens Korff, owner and author of Creative Spirits.
Jens Korff, owner and author of Creative Spirits.

I hope you feel confident exploring Creative Spirits.

Enjoy this website.

Join my Smart Owls community and sign up below.

If you feel you should tell me something, just drop me an email to the address provided below. Be curious. Always. It’s a spice of life.

Thank you for listening.

Cheers,
Jens

Contact me

Please note

At the moment I am unable to answer most emails as I'm managing other priorities in my life.

I run Creative Spirits by myself in my spare time, and I'm looking forward to being able to help you better in the future. For now, please accept my apologies if I cannot respond.

Thank you.

What do you want to contact me about?

Terminology

There is no universally agreed upon term for referring to the many diverse groups who comprise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. For this website, and without intending to be disrespectful, I have decided to use the term ‘Aboriginal people’ to refer to all peoples and groups whose ancestors pre-date colonisation and who identify as such.

Links

At present I use a variety of ways to help finance this website. One is via affiliate links, for example to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Creative Spirits® is a registered trademark.

References

View article sources (3)

[1] 'Protocols for Producing Indigenous Australian Writing', Australia Council for the Arts, 2007
[2] 'Writing About Indigenous Australia—Some Issues to Consider and Protocols to Follow: A Discussion Paper', Dr Anita Heiss, Southerly (Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp.197), 2002
[3] 'Walking Together: ABC News Special Coverage: Linda Burney Reflects on 20 Years of Reconciliation', ABC iView, viewed 3/6/2020

Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, About Creative Spirits, <https://www.creativespirits.info/about/>, retrieved 28 July 2021

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

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