Department of Human Services

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Aboriginal peoples

View the full DHS "Cultural Maintenance" artwork


Our department is committed to creating a community that is safe, inclusive and welcoming to Aboriginal peoples. We strive to achieve positive outcomes and build resilience in South Australian Aboriginal communities.

We acknowledge and respect Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations, and recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of lands and waters in South Australia.

We strive to build a workforce and community proud and inclusive of South Australia’s Aboriginal cultures.

The department’s vision for Reconciliation

The department’s vision for Reconciliation is:

  • for South Australia to be a community that is safe, inclusive and welcoming to all Aboriginal peoples
  • for racism and prejudice to be eliminated from our department
  • for all Aboriginal peoples to be able to participate equally in every aspect of society.

To guide our journey towards Reconciliation, the department has:

Cultural Maintenance reconciliation artwork

'Cultural Maintenance' is a reconciliation artwork commissioned by our department and created by South Australian artist, Allan Sumner.

This artwork is a fusion of symbols that represent the Department’s Reconciliation Action Plan vision. The artwork reflects many values that help to build the capacity of DHS. It visually pieces together in waveform, representing cohesion and connectedness as an organisation.

Watch a video of artist Allan Sumner (YouTube 5.24 mins), describing the meaning of his artwork ‘Cultural Maintenance’ commissioned by the Department.

Explore the interactive image of the Cultural Maintenance artwork, highlighting the significance and meaning behind the different elements of the artwork.


DHS participates in:

  • Sorry Day
  • NAIDOC events
  • Reconciliation week

These events acknowledge important days of remembrance and commemoration, and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They also provide an opportunity to recognise the achievements of Aboriginal Australians and acknowledge their vital contributions to our country.

NAIDOC 2020 video

Dale Agius (Senior Manager Aboriginal Practice and Programs) chats with Joyleen Thomas​ (Chairperson NAIDOC SA) about NAIDOC week 2020 and how people can engage and celebrate.

NAIDOC 2020 video

NAIDOC 2020 video (Vimeo 6.30 mins)


Aboriginal Employment information page

Presentation of the Chief Executive Award for Aboriginal Employee of the year, 2020

This award acknowledges Aboriginal employees who have shown excellence in leadership  and driven positive change in the department.

The 2020 Aboriginal employee of the year was Sonja Tilbrook (Community and Family Services). Ben Brusnahan (Youth Justice Services) was a finalist.

2020 Aboriginal employee of the year awards

Presentation of the Chief Executive Award for Aboriginal Employee of the year, 2020 (YouTube 17.10 mins)

Page last updated : 14 Dec 2021

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