This NAIDOC week, non-Indigenous Canberrans are being asked to move beyond "tokenistic" displays of respect.
Many NAIDOC week events in the ACT have been cancelled because of Covid restrictions.
From July 4 - 11 all Australians are asked to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Winnunga CEO Julie Tongs said people who hold NAIDOC events but don't listen to the Indigenous community the rest of the year are "hypocrites".
"You can have people acting one way and then feeling good about themselves because they're celebrating NAIDOC day with a bunch of Aboriginal people. They should respect people every day," she said.
"NAIDOC is for Aboriginal people. We should be able to come out and celebrate our achievements and to reflect on the past and look at how we're going to move forward," she said.
"It's a very, very important week, and if wasn't for Covid we'd certainly be celebrating."
Boorooberongal woman and Canberra education consultant Emma Laverty said cultural recognition in schools should extend beyond NAIDOC week.
"Only celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture one or two days a year, so on NAIDOC week or on Reconciliation day or week and that's it, that to me is quite tokenistic," she said.
"If the learning is further and spread throughout the whole year and throughout the whole school ... that would be more authentic."
The dance teacher incorporated cultural practice into her work when her children were born, and she noticed gaps in the education system.
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Ms Laverty said including their culture in the classroom improves education outcomes for Indigenous students.
"It's really important to feel you belong in a space and helping them be engaged by creating that sense of belonging for them in the classroom in their schoolwork," she said.
She said while there is huge demand from educators wanting to incorporate Indigenous cultures in their schools, some are afraid of asking offensive questions.
"Teachers are looking for ways to incorporate more Indigenous culture in the classroom, but there is a bit of a fear there that they may do it wrong," said Ms Laverty.
"But I really encourage them to ask questions and get in touch with locals because ... it's I think the best way to move forward as a community together."
Having lived in Canberra - which is Ngunnawal country - for seven years, she said while she isn't on country she feels connected to the area.
"I do have a sense of belonging and connection here. My elders have told me that way back, Canberra and Ngunnawal Country was a meeting place and our tribe did come down, so I'm probably following similar pathways and waterways that my people would have," she said.
"I'm not on country, this isn't where I'm from, but I do still have a sense of belonging."
Ms Laverty practices contemporary Aboriginal dance - a fusion of movement from her tribe with modern dance.
"Because it is storytelling and messaging, I find that helps communication between cultures," she said.
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