14200 years ago… Over 400 nations within this continent Each nation had every institution we currently have in AustraliaLaw, belief, occupations, family structures, trade, art, recreation and systems of ‘Government’People have lived on this land for over 60,000 years
15Many people like to be called by their country name – Yorta Yorta, Wathaurung etc much like the Europeans prefer being called French, Irish etc.Dark green area is what is also known as the Kulin Nations
16Traditional Circles of Nurture, Learning and Care ChildParentsSiblingsBrother CousinsGranniesUnclesAuntiesSister CousinsCommunity EldersSkin GroupTotemMoietyClanCommunityIn the area of child and family welfare, the Indigenous perspective is holistic and community-based. Therefore Indigenous communities believe in,the whole child, and not just the child’s educational, physical or spiritual needs in isolation,the child’s relationship to the whole family, and not just mum or dad,the child’s relationship to the whole community, and not just the family, andthe child’s relationship to the land and the spirit beings which determine law, politics and meaning.Most importantly, our children felt valued and connected.This slides describes the circles of care that surround the child, recognising the role that the extended family and the whole community had in raising the child.As it is often said – it takes a village to raise a child.American Child Trauma expert, Dr. Bruce Perry talks about the positive role a plurality of relationships plays in raising children. When a child is communally enriched in this way they grow strong in a sense of identity and belonging.
17The Great Divide: Cross-cultural Cross-over AboriginalNon-Aboriginal/WesternEconomics based on environmental sustainabilityEconomics based on production and consumptionSpirituality based on the land and watersSpirituality (in most cases) based on sacred, written textsLaw ‘written’ in the land, passed through ancestral story telling, unchangingLaw established by common law (past judicial judgements) or parliament, constantly changingPolitics based on consensus of EldersPolitics based on representative democracy and power elitesChild rearing involves extended family and whole communityChild rearing based on nuclear familyDisadvantaged by process of colonisationAdvantaged by colonisationMinority culturesDominant cultureWe covered some of the ‘before-invasion’ issues in last years lecture on relationships.But as you consider issues around decision making and best interests it would be useful to see the differences between Aboriginal societies in general and Western societies in order to get a handle on why the post-invasion dynamics between our cultures has such a negative impact on Aboriginal people today..As you can see from this slide you have differences in every key aspect of societal understanding and organisation.Economics based on environmental sustainability vs. Economics based on production and consumptionSpirituality based on the land and waters vs. Spirituality (in most cases) based on sacred, written textsLaw ‘written’ in the land, passed through ancestral story telling and unchanging vs. Law established by common law (past judicial judgements) or parliament, constantly changingPolitics based on consensus of Elders vs. Politics based on representative democracy and power elitesChild rearing involving extended family and whole community vs. Child rearing based on nuclear familyAnd of course our communities are disadvantaged by process of colonisation while in comparison, and generally speaking, non-Aboriginal people are advantaged by colonisationAnd Aboriginal cultures are in the minority and need to contend with the dominant alien culture .
18Aboriginal Reserves and Missions in Victoria People of different language groups were gathered and forced to live together in places convenient to the dominant culture
19Movement & Transfer of Population between Missions Family groups were splitYoung men were often sent far away to workYoung women were sent to domestic service,Even when land was granted, it was taken back at the whim of white authority
20Terra nullius ‘empty land’ no peoples, no connection to land, treated like flora and fauna‘protection’forced separation, forced removal, assimilation ‘whitening’ raceStolen Generations – forced separation of childrenNo self-determination, no citizenship rights, no rights as peoplesFor us – colonisation created the conditions for social and economic dysfunction. Our local households and economies became fragmented as our land was cleared for the use of sheep and cattle and crops and our laws were ignored.In order to re-establish our local economies, we need our rights restored, which in turn can lead to a restoration of our social and economic capacity. For us, colonisation was a form of dis-investment, what we need is re-investment in our communities. A rights agenda which respects our culture and enables our self-determination is the best re-investment strategy.20
21A question of foundations No consent, no treaty – despite instructions from BritainIntention of proviso in Letters Patent 1836 – settlement in SA dependent on respect for Aboriginal rights – ‘always’Batman Treaty 1835 – not acknowledged, terms not met, leasing or possession?, temporary or permanent?No recognised process of transfer of sovereignty or possession
22Invasion and Conquest 1788- 1858 Europeans arrive in Australia1790First Contact in many areas. Misunderstandings. Death through disease. Frontier wars.Resistance and battles.1837Board of Protection of Aborigines established – They were given the power to determine where Aboriginal people lived.
23Segregation 1835-1886 1869 Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (Vic) In 1869 the Board for the Protection of Aborigines became responsible for the administration of the Aborigines Protection Act, which in part sought:To separate Aboriginal children from their families and communities in order to 'educate' them within a European system.To control where Aboriginal people could live, work, what kinds of jobs they could do, who they could associate with and who they could marry.
24Petition to Queen by Australian Aborigines League. 1933A large camp of 200 Aboriginal people near Cumeragunja refused dole in Victoria because they were 'NSW residents', but denied assistance in NSW because they were 'too black and should apply to the NSW APB". Under the prevailing assimilation policies of the NSW APB, they were told that they were "too white" to receive rations because they were not 'predominantly Aboriginal blood‘.1937Assimilation Policy endorsed at the first Commonwealth State conference on Native Welfare.1938Petition to Queen by Australian Aborigines League.Protest at German Consulate by Australian Aborigines League
251939Jack Patten goes to Cumeragunja in late January 1939 to talk to the residents about their failed campaign to remove manager A.J. McQuiggan.200 Cumeragunja residents decide to 'walk-off' the reserve in protest at APB policies cross the Murray River into Victoria and set up camp at Barmah.Jack Patten goes to Cumeragunja in late January 1939 to talk to the residents about their failed campaign to remove manager A.J. McQuiggan.As a result of Patten's advice 200 Cumeragunja residents decide to 'walk-off' the reserve in protest at APB policies. Patten goes to Barmah to telegram an urgent message to NSW Premier demanding an immediate inquiry into McQiggan's 'intimidation, starvation and victimisation' which, he said, was the cause of the protest. McQuiggan's response was to call in police and have Patten and his brother George arrested for 'incitement'. 200 of Cumeragunja's residents cross the Murray River into Victoria and set up camp at Barmah.
27Assimilation 1951-1970 1951 Assimilation Policy By 1951 all Australian governments claimed they had adopted a policy of 'assimilating' Aboriginal people into the wider societyThe policy was defined as:... All Aborigines and part-Aborigines are expected eventually to attain the same manner of living as other Australians and to live as a member of a single Australian community enjoying the same rights and privileges, accepting the same beliefs, hopes and loyalties as other Australians.However, the policy of assimilation was more devastating as the aim was to "breed" out the Aborigines' and Islander peoples' "traits" and to westernise the so called "half-castes".
28Learning from the past – Stolen Generations It is estimated that tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were removed from their families and raised in institutions or fostered-out to non-Aboriginal people.This was seen as a way of promoting the ‘best interests’ of the child.It made little difference what the Aboriginal family situation really was or how the children were cared for, because being Aboriginal was, in itself, seen as a reason to regard children as ‘neglected’.The story of the Stolen Generations is full of examples of how the principle of ‘best interests’ lead to children being badly treated, economically exploited, unable to form meaningful relationships and, not only alienated from their own culture but also unable to fit into a white culture which they did not understand, had different values and was not accepting of them. Close to half of those people who’s deaths were investigated by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were taken away from their families when they were children.As you can see from this chart as published in last year’s State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Children Report – Stolen Generations policies has touched most families in our community.The practice of removal was based on the assumption thatdisconnection from Aboriginal culture was in the best interests of the child andAboriginal communities should not determine their own future
29Assimilation1957Aborigines Protection Board changed to Aborigines Welfare Board to assist the assimilation policy1966Policy shift: Indigenous children should stay with their families if possible1967In the 1967 referendum, an overwhelming majority of Australians (more than 90%), and all the States, voted in favour of amending the Federal Constitution so that Aborigines could be counted in reckoning the population of Australia and that the Commonwealth had responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs.
30The Great Australian Silence Inattention on such a scale cannot possibly be explained by absentmindedness. It is a structural matter, a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape. What may well have begun as a simple forgetting of other possible views turned under habit and over time into something like a cult of forgetfulness practised on a national scale. We have been able for so long to disremember the Aborigines that we are now hard put to keep them in mind even when we most want to do so.W.E.H.Stanner, After the Dreaming: The Boyer Lectures
31Post 1967 Policies 1972 Tent Embassy. Aboriginal flag designed. Whitlam Government Policy of Self Determination for Aboriginal people is adopted by Federal Government replacing earlier policies of protectionism and assimilation.1975Land Rights Acts.Racial Discrimination Act.Mostly bi-partisan approach to Indigenous affairs.1970sEstablishment of many Aboriginal organisations.
32Post 1967 Policies1989Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – discovered that 43 out of 99 deaths in custody were of people who were separated from their families as children1991Bi-partisan Policy of Reconciliation. Establishment of Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.1992High Court Mabo Decision (end of bi-partisan approach) and PM Keating’s Redfern Speech
33Post 1967 Policies1996Wik Decision – pastoral leases don’t necessarily extinquish native title1997National Inquiry into Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families “Bringing Them Home Report”Victorian Parliament apologises for the forcible removal of Indigenous children. Federal Government doesn’t apologise1998First Sorry Day.Native Title Amendment Act passed
34Post 1967 Policies2000Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Final Report calls for ‘negotiated framework agreement’.Reconciliation Walks – participate in walks across the nation2004Federal Government announces the mainstreaming of Government services and the abolition of ATSIC2007Federal Government announces the NT Emergency Intervention. Overrides Racial Discrimination Act
35Colonisation as an ongoing toxic reality Loss of self-determination (disempowerment)Treated as client communitiesLoss of economic and social capacity (disadvantage)Unemployment (15%)Incarceration (13.3 times more likely)Child protection (7.7 times more likely)Life expectancy (12 years less)Pervasiveness of racism and cultural abuse/disrespectColonisation and its continuing impact on Aboriginal people remains the enemy of Aboriginal children and families.Colonisation involved acts of disempowerment which ignored and disregarded Aboriginal sophisticated systems of law, politics, economy, trade, ecology and culture, which are rooted in Aboriginal deep connection with the land.With disempowerment came disconnection and ongoing racism. We were deemed a doomed race and for many their children were taken away under a racially defined understanding of the ‘best interests of the child’.As you can see from the slide – colonisation is an ongoing reality. In Aboriginal communities there are a minority of women and men whose parenting skills have been severally diminished as a direct result of not receiving adequate parenting and nurturing by their own parents and /or caregivers. In most cases this is because their parents experienced institutionalisation and did not receive adequate nurturing and parenting themselves. For most of Aboriginal parents involved in child protection they have had a significant history with child protection. Often their parents too have experienced substantial physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, as children. Most of the families that we continue to deal with have been subjected to substantial physical, emotional and/or emotional and/or sexual abuse.The statistics for Child Protection are still too high for Aboriginal children. The welfare system for too long was part of a system of racism and cultural abuse because it devalued Aboriginal culture and ignored Aboriginal rights to self-determination.
37The Howard Years: Federal Policy Impasse Acknowledging the past and its impact on the present vs. denialismSelf-determination vs. mainstreamingRestoring capacity through cultural respect vs. blaming cultureAddressing the ‘unfinished business’ vs. ‘practical reconciliation’Firstly, acknowledging the past and the past’s impact on the present.Historically, Aboriginal communities had strong, functioning and sustainable social, cultural, legal, economic and ecological systems which enabled us to live and thrive. This capacity was greatly diminished by the process of colonisation which dispossessed and fragmented Aboriginal communities. Today, this diminished capacity is evidenced by disproportionate rates of disadvantage, impoverishment, poor health and incarceration. Governments need to take a greater responsibility for restoring the capacity of Aboriginal communities. The first step towards restoring capacity is to acknowledge the impact of the past and celebrating the fact that Aboriginal cultures continue to survive despite that past.Secondly, self-determination.Self-determination is recognised internationally as a fundamental human right for individuals and distinct peoples, including Aboriginal peoples. Self-determination is also fundamental to restoring the capacity of Victorian Aboriginal communities to overcome disadvantage.Thirdly, restoring capacity through cultural respect.We believe that culturally-based approaches to overcoming Aboriginal disadvantage are the most effective. Aboriginal cultures are the longest continuing cultures in the world. These cultures are sophisticated and holistic, linking spirituality with politics, education, economics, ecology and law. Aboriginal cultures have proved resilient and continue to change and adapt to the impact of colonisation. In Victoria there are many Aboriginal and Islander people, some of whom come from other sates and territories. We support an approach to reform which focuses on promoting cultural respect and restoring capacity. We work to increase the cultural competence of non-indigenous organisations; to build public awareness of the effects of dominant culture on Aboriginal people; and to develop sustainable and equal partnerships that value and respect Aboriginal culture, skills and knowledge.
38Rudd Government Approaches Apology to the Stolen Generations and Welcome to CountryAdjustments to NT Emergency InterventionNational Indigenous Representative BodySigning of the UN Declaration on Indigenous RightsHealing FoundationEvidence-based ApproachClosing the Gap
39The NT Intervention Issues the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Acthasn’t followed the recommendations of the “Little Children Are Sacred” Reportthe blanket treatment of all welfare recipients and the loss of dignity and shame that people experience when shopping with their compulsory BasicsCardReported drop in nutrition statisticsGovernment Business Managers have replaced Aboriginal community councilsthat more well being and health comprehensive services should all be provided.
40Closing the Gap targets • Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation: Currently the gap has been revised to 11.5 years for Indigenous men and 9.7 years for Indigenous women.• Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018: Indigenous children under 5 are more likely to die than non-Indigenous children.
41• Ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities by 2013: Just over 60 per cent of Indigenous children are enrolled in early childhood education programs in the year before school compared to around 70 per cent for all children.Halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievement for Indigenous children by 2018: Only 63.4 per cent of Indigenous Year 5 students were at or above the national minimum standard for reading compared to 92.6 per cent of their non-Indigenous counterparts.
42•• Halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020: Non‑Indigenous 20–24 year olds are almost twice as likely to attain a Year 12 or equivalent qualification as their Indigenous counterparts.• Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018: In 2008, almost 54 per cent of the Indigenous working-age population was employed compared with 75 per cent of the non‑Indigenous working-age population.
43Victorian Aboriginal Children Policy Self-determinationBest interests of the childAcknowledgement of importance of Aboriginal culture and connection for the childAboriginal Child Placement PrincipleTransfer of authority to Aboriginal agenciesCultural plansCultural competenceIn Victoria the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 establishes some of the key principles to turning things around for Aboriginal children and families.The law establishes the principle of Aboriginal self-determination as the basis for the decision making process in relation to Aboriginal children. It not only makes compliance with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle mandatory when considering removing children from their families, it also enables the Secretary of DHS to transfer responsibility for managing Children’ Court protection orders to the head of an approved Aboriginal agency.This is yet to happen, but at VACCA we are preparing for that possibility.The law makes explicit the importance of culture for Aboriginal children.As we all know, in the past, government policies said it was in Aboriginal children’s best interests for them to lose their culture, to assimilate, to be like others.Today, the law acknowledges up front that it is in the best interests of an Aboriginal child for their culture and their connection to family, kin and community to be maintained and supported. The law makes mandatory the preparation of cultural plans for Aboriginal children in out-of-home careThe law also makes cultural competence one of the performance standards which all community sector organisations must meet to stay registered.
44Currents in Indigenous Policy Cultural Respect.Resistance. Rights.Colonisation. Separation. Assimilation. Cultural Blame.
45Forces For and Against Cultural Safety a) internal strength-based processes within Aboriginal communities which encourage cultural resilience and resistance andb) external processes of the colonised environment which are generated from the broader society.In our view at VACCA there are two key processes which either promote or constrain the level of cultural safety and resilience in Aboriginal children:from the positive side, internal strength-based processes within Aboriginal communities which encourage cultural resilience and resistance andfrom the negative side, external processes of the colonised environment which are generated from the broader society.It is when the internal processes of resilience and resistance are coupled with an external dominant culture which encourages and empowers– rather than dissuades and dis-empowers – Aboriginal culture and voice, that we are likely to see the restoration of cultural safety and a strengthened resilience in our children.Let me explore these ideas is some more detail.
46Cultural resilience and resistance Community wealth – extended family networks, looking after each other – demonstrating elasticity (functionality in the face of risk) and buoyancy (ability to recover from trauma)Story telling – of creator spirits, key land marks, contemporary storiesHistory of resistance – eg. Cold Morning, Jupiter, Cocknose, Barak, Cooper, the Walk Off, Patton, setting up of Koorie orgsCultural expression – songs/music and artSo we suggest that the notion of cultural safety has two sides. Firstly, from the perspective of being on the inside looking out. That is, from an Aboriginal perspective. It is based concerned with processes and services that promote Aboriginal children, families and communities to move from victim to survivor to achiever throughre-membering – in other words, seeing the past as a means to, in a sense, Aboriginal peoples re-joining and becoming members of both their own particular Aboriginal communities and societies through their remembered narratives and ensuring those formerly silenced narratives are re-membered in broader society. Re-membering in this way is closely related to issues of spirituality and belonging. Re-membering can counteract what Stanner identified as a sense of homelessnessre-sourcing – in other words, creating a map to find locations/situations/relationships where our people feel culturally secure in our communities, through the resources of land and culture. In this way communities can build on their cultural strengths to counteract what Stanner identified as a sense of poverty.resistance and voice – in other words, helping our people access ‘wealth and power’ and therefore empowered in relation to broader society. Having an effective, self-determining voice therefore can counteract what Stanner identified as a sense of powerlessness andre-creation of cultural products through various forms of creative activity such as music, film, theatre, craft and art. Finding new forms of cultural expression can enable Aboriginal peoples to navigate the dominant culture and counteract what Stanner identified as a sense of confusion and we have further defined as disorientation.This will only happen if we also have a deep and abiding commitment to want to engage together to enhance the resilience of our children, our young people and our communities.
47Addressing the causal factors The problemNo self-determinationLittle respect for cultureFear and mistrustThe answerSelf-determination, capacity building, partnerships and cultural competenceWhen we look at Aboriginal core concern of addressing the issues for a minority of Aboriginal families who are dysfunctional we need to clearly identify the causal factors.Aboriginal traditional ways of embracing children and being extended families in communities of care was disrupted by the process of colonisation whichDenied Aboriginal self-determination andDemonised and disrupted Aboriginal cultureSeparated Aboriginal families andDestroyed Aboriginal economies.All of which led to a reduction in the capacity of a minority of Aboriginal families to look after their own children.Particularly in the context of Stolen Generations policies we learned to fear and distrust the welfare system. Aboriginal families see involvement with welfare services as statement of their failure in parenting rather than as services that are have a right to access for the myriad issues that all parents face.To address these casual factors we have to reverse these on-going colonial processes and decolonise the welfare system.So – to put it simply – we need to create a child and family service system for Aboriginal peoples which is premised on self-determination, capacity building, partnerships and cultural competence
48Colonisation and its Echoes Homelessness – terra nullius/empty land, disconnection from land, moved onto reserves/missionsPowerlessness – no law, lack of acknowledgment of Aboriginal authorities, not citizens until 1967, lack of real self-determinationPoverty – no ownership, no recognition of traditional economies, limited access to dominant culture economy, dependencyDisorientation/Confusion – nowhere, no place in dominant culture, cultural in-competence of mainstream, constant policy changes and confusion, racism(above factors identified by W.E.H Stanner in the 60s)In many respects we have not gone beyond the revelations of W.E.H. Stanner in the 60s in our understanding of the challenges Aboriginal communities.While Stanner was particularly concerned with the Aboriginal people he lived with as an anthropologist in the Northern Territory, his summary of the problem provides a useful framework for our analysis of the impact of the toxic nature of colonised Australia on Aboriginal communities.Stanner suggests that there are four interrelated negative forces at work in Aboriginal communities – homelessness, powerlessness, poverty and confusion. In our report we refer to Stanner’s notion of ‘confusion’ as ‘disorientation’ as the confusion he refers to is primarily concerned with issues around First People’s understanding of the colonised hybrid world and therefore are concerned with the need to find a sense of direction in that world. All these negative forces relate to the terra nullius foundations of our relationships and are the products of the subsequent historical and contemporary disconnections from land, voice, economic and a sense of clarity and direction about the world. This framework serves as our ‘diagnostic tool’ for understanding the problem which has been imposed on Aboriginal peoples.The solution is to promote culture and voice as means of resilience and resistance against the echoes of colonisation.
49Three Keys to Cultural Safety Respect for, and processes towards, self-determinationResourcing Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander-led SolutionsRespect for culture and addressing racism
50Human rights as an inclusion and investment strategy Human rights based social investment framework:- recognises that colonisation has impacted negatively on Indigenous social and economic capacity,- builds on the strengths of Indigenous culture- respects the self-determining rights of Indigenous communities in order to re-build capacity. What we are saying is that in order to create the conditions for positive social engagement for Indigenous children and families, there needs to be a human rights based social investment framework which:- recognises that colonisation has impacted negatively on Indigenous social and economic capacity,- builds on the strengths of Indigenous culture and- respects the self-determining rights of Indigenous communities in order to re-build capacity. 50
51Self-determination• sovereignty - which acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waters who have never ceded their sovereign rights; • Aboriginal peoples who have been forcibly removed from their traditional lands but are still ‘peoples’, as defined by international human rights conventions; • community controlled organisations and agencies; and • ‘practical self-determination’ which ensures that communities and community controlled organizations are being resourced and allowed to act as equal partnersIt is the hope of the Aboriginal services sector that self-determination in its various forms will be seriously addressed. Currently, we are consulted by government when they view it as appropriate rather than negotiating with us as a self-determining right. The forms of self-determination which Aboriginal communities expressinclude:• sovereignty - which acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waters who have never ceded their sovereign rights;• the self-determination of Aboriginal peoples who have been forcibly removed from their traditional lands but are still ‘peoples’, as defined by international human rights conventions;• self-determination as expressed in community controlled organisations and agencies; and• what we could call ‘practical self-determination’ which ensures that communities and community controlled organizations are being allowed to act as equal partners in all matters that concern Aboriginal people.
52UN Conventions: Rights of all peoples to self-determination Article Two of the UN Charter Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article One of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) defines the right of self-determination as involving the free choice of political status and the freedom to pursue economic, social and cultural development.It is important to understand what self-determination means and involves. Article Two of the UN Charter and Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights enshrine the rights of all peoples to self-determination. There are two different concepts which relate to self-determination: internal, which involves recognition of population within a State, and external, which involves formation of a new State by distinct people. The principle of self-determination suggests that a people or political community has a fundamental right and ability to determine their own governance model and practices. The principle of self-determination enables Indigenous communities to determine their own priorities and strategies, and recognises them as political communities of peoples with their own governance arrangements.
53EXAMPLE OF COMMUNITY-LEVEL INDICATORS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO A HEALTH OUTCOME – Suicide rates by number of factors present in the community (1987–1992). (Taken from Chandler M and Proulx T. Changing selves in changing worlds: youth suicide on the fault lines of colliding cultures. Archives of Suicide Research 2006: 10: ).An index of ‘‘cultural continuity’’ comprised of six marker variables: degree to which each of B.C.’s individual bands have already secured 1) some measure of self government; some control over the delivery of 2) health, 3) education, 4) policing services, and 5) cultural resources; and 6) are otherwise at work litigating for Aboriginal title to traditional lands.Rate of youth suicideInternational research and practice also demonstrates the resilience of culture.A recent study from Canada by Michael Chandler and Travis Proulx for the International Academy for Suicide Research has pointed out that as measures for self-determination and culturally-based services increase, youth suicide dramatically decreases. As you can see – the more Nation or tribal groups – here referred to as ‘bands’ – have control over and cultural input into governance, health, education, policing, resources and seeking title to land – the lesser the incidence of youth suicide.Being on your own land, having a form of self-government, having Indigenous health services and policing; all combine to create a sense that there is not only a proud past – but a promising future for young people.This is the opposite of mainstreaming. Assimilation and mainstreaming is not only morally wrong, it doesn’t work. All the evidence proves this.I would suggest that self-determination is the most critical social determinant of Indigenous health and wellbeing. While we recognise that more research is required we believe we are on the right track in Aboriginal assertion that self-determination leads to better health and wellbeing outcomes.
54Practical self-determination self-determination needsto be resourced,capacity building;respectful dialogue, partnership and community development.Aboriginal and Islander people want rights not welfare so they can action their responsibilities.But, self-determination needs to be more than a word, it needs to be resourced, it needs capacity building; it needs respectful dialogue and community development.I think this is where we, or more particularly, governments, have gone wrong in the past.It was assumed that people who had been systematically disempowered, marginalised and denied rights would be magically able to navigate the strange alien cultural world of colonised Australia and create a new self-determining future.But we are in the midst of a real story – not some fairy tale.Unfortunately, self-determination was poorly resourced and not enough thought was put into building the capacity of Indigenous communities to exercise their self-determination.And I mean exercise.When you don’t use your muscles for long periods of time your body becomes weak and, in some situations, unable to lift or move.Aboriginal self-determination muscles had been unused for decades and we needed the right exercise plan to restrengthen them.We needed personal trainers and physiotherapists to help us rebuild Aboriginal muscles so that we could exercise Aboriginal rights and Aboriginal responsibilities.Too many communities were just given a bag of money and then left to their own devices.Too many communities became dependent on welfare rather than given the resources – in terms of education and training, as well as finance – to action their rights.Only when you can action your rights can you re-learn how to act with responsibility.Only when you can see that the future is in your own hands can you be motivated to see beyond the next welfare cheque.This is why I say – like many Aboriginal and Islander leaders before me that we want rights not welfare.But with rights comes responsibility.
55Culture – meaning and identity “Culture frames the identity of all peopleOur senses see, hear, taste, feel and smell the world through cultureCulture is as necessary to a sense of meaning and identity as air is to living.Culture is the air our minds breathe.Culture is our eyes onto the world.Culture explains the world to us and us to the world”Muriel BamblettWhen we look at best practice in our sector the question of identity is central.For all people it is culture which frames identity and provides meaning.Our senses see, hear, taste, feel and smell the world through cultureCulture is as necessary to a sense of meaning and identity as air is to living.Culture is the air our minds breathe.Culture is our eyes onto the world.Culture explains the world to us and, in many respects, us to the world.Culture is central to identity. Culture defines who we are, how we think, how we communicate, what we value and what is important to us.
56Culture Abuse“When the culture of a people is ignored, denigrated, or worse, intentionally attacked, it is cultural abuse.It is abuse becauseit strikes at the very identity and soul of the people it is aimed at;it attacks their sense of self-esteem,it attacks their connectedness to their family and community.”Muriel BamblettSo when it comes to questions of abuse for our children what puts our kids most at risk is cultural abuse and a culturally incompetent service system which demonises rather than treats the core problem.When the culture of a people is ignored, denigrated, or worse, intentionally attacked, it is cultural abuse. It is abuse because it strikes at the very identity and soul of the people it is aimed at; it attacks their sense of self-esteem, it attacks their connectedness to their family and community.If children are truly to be protected, their culture must be protected.
57Cultural Competence Continuum DestructivenessCulturalIncapacityCulturalPre competenceCulturalBlindnessCulturalCompetenceCulturalProficiencyTowards cultural competenceCharacterised byIntentional attitudespolicies & practicesthat are destructiveto cultures andconsequently toindividuals within theCultureCharacterised by:Lack of capacity tohelp minority clientsor Communities dueto extremely biasedbeliefs and apaternal attitudetoward thosenot of a mainstreamcultureCharacterised by:The belief that serviceor helping approachestraditionally used bythe dominant cultureare universallyapplicable regardlessof race or culture.These services ignorecultural strengths andencourage assimilationCharacterised by:The desire to deliverquality servicesand a commitmentto diversityindicated by hiringminority staff,initiating training andrecruiting minoritymembers for agencyleadership,but lacking informationon how to maximisethese capacities.This level of competencecan lead to tokenismCharacterised by:Acceptance andrespect for differencecontinuing selfassessment, carefulattention to thedynamics ofdifference, continuousexpansion of knowledgeand resources, andadaptation of services tobetter meet the needs ofdiverse populationsCharacterised by:Holding culture in highesteem: seeking toadd to the knowledgebase of culturallycompetent practiceby conductingresearch, influencingapproaches to care,and improvingrelations betweenculturesPromotes selfdeterminationWhich of these frameworks will help you best if you are approached by CSOs for comment on their CC?We hope to integrate the 2Are there other approaches which work better for you?
58Conceptual Framework Cultural Awareness – Knowledge with Understanding Commitment to Aboriginal Self-determination and Respectful Partnerships– the Ground RulesCultural Respect - Attitude and ValuesCultural Responsiveness – Ability and SkillsCultural Safety – Environment and Client ExperienceIn order to move from pre-competence to competence there needs to be a journey in the Cultural Awareness of the board, staff and volunteers of an agency. Cultural awareness has been described by Aboriginal academic and psychologist, Dennis McDermott, as being aware of cultural difference and cultural diversity. There is an understanding of some of the ‘facts’ or knowledge of another culture and, more importantly for professionals, an awareness that cultural differences may necessitate a different approach to people of that other culture. It is knowledge with understanding and is a precursor to becoming cross-culturally competent. For individuals, cultural awareness continues to develop and grow as they become more adept in cross-cultural situations.Fundamental to respectful partnerships is the recognition of Aboriginal self-determination as the basis for engagement. As we move towards a culturally competent service system for Aboriginal children, families and communities, priority must be given to enhancing and capacity building Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to deliver services. The role of mainstream agencies is to support and complement ACCOs service provision. Agencies need to demonstrate their commitment to Aboriginal self-determination by seeking a partnership approach. This commitment enables an agency-wide approach which lays the foundation for cultural respect, cultural responsiveness and cultural safety.Cultural Respect is concerned with the attitude and values of individuals and therefore, at a collective level, the organisational culture of the agency. Is the organisational culture of an agency one that values and promotes the uniqueness and strengthens of Aboriginal cultures? Does it recognise the diversity of Aboriginal cultures and particularly respects the culture of the local Aboriginal community and the particular Aboriginal culture of its Aboriginal children and families? Are the agencies board members, staff, volunteers and carers positive and respectful towards Aboriginal people?Within the agency are staff, volunteers and carers culturally responsive? In other words, do they have the necessary ability and skills to work effectively across-cultures and provide a service which meets the needs of Aboriginal people.Dennis McDermott suggests that cultural safety is concerned with whether or not the client is ‘safe’ from covert or overt cultural abuse. In other words it is a reflection on the client’s experience of the agency and is achieved when the client feels safe to be themselves. It is therefore also concerned with whether or not the environment of the agency is safe and welcoming for Aboriginal people. One of the key aspects of cultural safety is the self-awareness of the provider of services of the power dynamics of cross-cultural interaction.
59“Racism Makes us Sick” Internalised racism Interpersonal racism Systemic/Institutional racism
60Interrogate our terra nullius blindness (whiteness) Peggy McIntosh - the “invisible knapsack”.I can arrange to be in the company of my race most of the timeIf I need to move to rent or buy or if I need credit my skin colour will not be an obstruction to getting the propertyI can turn on the telly and see my race widely representedI can swear, get drunk, dress in second hand clothes, not answer letters without people saying how typical of my raceI can do well without being called a credit to my raceI am never asked to speak for all people of my race.
61Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation The Declaration Towards Reconciliation,The Roadmap Towards Reconciliation– which included national strategies forsustaining the reconciliation process,promoting the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights,overcoming disadvantage andeconomic independence
62Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge (the Council’s final report) recommendations for COAG to implement and monitor a national framework to overcome disadvantageSupport/strategies for The Declaration Towards Reconciliation and The Roadmap Towards Reconciliation by all governmentschange the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples in a new preamble, remove the ‘race powers’ (Section 25) and introduce constitutional protections against racial discriminationcommitments from all sectors of society to affirm the declaration, action the roadmap, provide resources for reconciliation,each government and parliament to recognize that its land and waters were settled without treaty and negotiate a process to achieve these agreements/treaties in order to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples political, legal, cultural and economic position in society andenact legislation to put in place a process towards agreement/treaty to resolve the unfinished business of reconciliation
63“Indigenous people want very little. They just want justice”. Acknowledge Sovereignty:Be Honest about our history:Safeguard Aboriginal Cultural Heritage:Recognise and Respect Aboriginal culture:Seek Aboriginal representation in all areas and at all levels of civic society:Pay reparations:
64Close the Gap In relationships and narratives by A conversation about a re-negotiated social contract with human rights as the foundation– issues such as the constitution, treaty/ies and agreementsTime to reframe the national identity
65TreatmentTreat each other - human rights as meeting place and rules of engagementSelf-determination and cultural respectHealingof relationships with each othertackling racism and white privilegewithin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communitiesrestoring culture and tackling lateral violenceWriting a new story - a new shared narrative, a new shared identityThe word ‘mistreatment’ featured in the Prime Ministers National Apology.So let me suggest the opposite word which may help us – the word treatment.I think all the meanings of that word have relevance and may put us back on the road.Firstly – treatment is about how we treat each other. And for me it’s about respect and treating each other according to an understanding of human rights.Human rights is both a meeting place between our peoples and a set of rules for respectful engagement.As rules of engagement it means that governments and non-indigenous communities treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples according to our humanity and our role as custodians of the land and waters.It means engaging with us as peoples with rights to self-determination and cultural respect.But treatment also means Healing.We need to heal our relationship and tackle racism and white privilege.For us it means healing within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities by restoring culture and tackling lateral violence.The third meaning of the word treatment is more commonly used in the film industry and is about adapting a story so that it can be made into a film.In our context it is about writing a new national story - a new shared narrative, a new shared identity as Australians.These are the treatments we need if we are to be healed as a nation and begin to treat each other as respected and valued equals.65