indigenist

Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing


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#Introverts 1-10 “Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe.” – Susan Cain

1. We withdraw in crowds.
2. Small talk stresses us out, while deeper conversations makes us feel alive.
3. We succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.
4. We get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.
5. We are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.
6. When surrounded by people, we locate themselves close to an exit.
7. We think before they speak.
8. We don’t take on the mood of their environment like extroverts do.
9. We physically can’t stand talking on the phone.
10. We literally shut down when it’s time to be alone.

“Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe.” – Susan Cain

A Gay, Aboriginal, Introverted Male (And Not At All What You’d Expect That Means)

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CQQC2015 Decolonising Post-settler Indigenous Masculinity.

Cultured Queers/Queer Cultures [DRAFT]

Title: Decolonising Post-settler Indigenous Masculinity.

Like many things, culture included, masculinity has changed over time. It too has shown to be dynamic. Tenga (Hawaii 2008), McKeney (Turlte Island 2014 ), Driskell (Turtle Island 2011) and Hokowhitu (New Zealand 2012) are notable international scholars of Indigenous masculinities and highlight this throughout their work. However Indigenous masculinity within a post-settler Australian context has never really been formally challenged or unpacked from an Indigenous Australian male perspective. My question is how much of an influence has colonial settlement in Australia affected pre-settler ideas of Indigenous masculinity. When we look at pre-settler roles and responsibilities available, there is evidence that some defy today’s gender norms. So what does that tell us about the contemporary Indigenous masculinity ? Is it perhaps that perhaps that hegemony of masculinity has made us, as Indigenous males inefficient because we hold our actions and behaviours accountable to colonial views and gender and sexuality ? By using Indigenous Standpoint Theory (Martin 2007) as decolonising practice I will endeavour to implement an auto-ethnographic lens and ask that we re-vision Indigenous masculinity and that we re-think and re-imagine our roles and relationships. But, most importantly we explore what the implications, are, both negative and positive, when our being cannot be disconnected from contemporary society.


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When oppression is underlying cause of mental health unrest in Indigenous people we need to name it a mental injury, not an illness.

When oppression is underlying cause of mental health unrest in Indigenous people we need to name it a mental injury, not an illness.

It’s not something that was caught or a disease. It’s something that has happened.

Eradicating oppression is the first step to the eradication mental injury and mental health unrest.

Eradicating oppression is suicide prevention.

© Indigenist™ 2014


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Social work in Australia – If there is a discussion that is interested in outcomes and changes influenced by the Indigenous voice, you can count me in.

Attending the  Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development

At the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation, ‘A culturally responsive social work application of Indigenous and western ways of thinking and doing when responding to Indigenous sexual diversity in a young, Indigenous male client’, the fourth in a series of five presentations I am undertaking this year. These presentations have been thematically linked to the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous people who fit the description of gender variant and sexuality diverse, or the more common acronym of LGBQTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, intersex). Two presentations have been on suicide prevention for this particular group and the third looking at the intersectionality of Indigeneity, gender variance and diverse sexualities and how to identify the social determinants of health affecting this group.

Attending the conference provided me the opportunity to use the decolonisation framework in Lorraine Muller’s text, ‘A theory for Indigenous Australian health and human service work’ (2014), in my presentation. The six stages of decolonisation in the book are: (1) Rediscovery and Recovery, (2) Mourning, (3) Healing/Forgiveness, (4) Dreaming, (5) Commitment and (6) Action. The six stages of decolonisation present a culturally responsive understanding that can be applied to social work; one that feels safe to use. This is important. It will be a framework that I will use time and time again as an Indigenous social work practitioner when working with an Indigenous partner. I use the term ‘partner’ in the context of a partnership with the individual, family or community we are working alongside. I am not a fan of the term ‘client’ as I believe it implies a power balance that is not conducive to an anti-oppressive space of interaction. Social work and social workers should not be interventionist(s) but rather sharers of practice, skills and theory through application not intervention.

My presentation was within the ‘Strengthening social and cultural wellbeing: Indigenous perspectives’ stream. It was great to catch up again with Michael Hart, who presented a paper titled ‘Indigenist social work: Culturally safe means to overcoming oppression and supporting wellbeing’, as well as network with the other local and international Indigenous delegates. When Marina Marcela Herrero, from Brazil, presented ‘Revitalization of Indigenous cultures at risk’ it was in her native tongue and although I couldn’t understand any of what was being said the accompanying video and the tones of her voice did assist in telling her story and her presentation. However, as I was sitting there I was reminded of how privileged I am being a speaker of English. It also reminded me that when it comes to Indigenous social work and our giving and receiving care styles we should not have to be in constant explanation mode. It should not always be up to us to explain, but that others need to make the effort to understand.

Prior to the conference I logged onto the live streaming of the IFSW General Meeting and was extremely happy to see ‘Indigenous knowledges’ included in the new definition of social work. I give full credit to the IFSW and the international organising committee of the SWESD gathering, as the live stream was a great idea. The inclusion of ‘Indigenous knowledges’ in the definition did set up quite a bit of expectation of Indigenous peoples’ inclusion throughout the three days. It is great when a local Indigenous person gives the Welcome to Country, I always  feel deeply about hearing another Indigenous person’s language. I would have liked to have seen Indigenous content in the opening plenary session itself. There is perhaps a bias that I carry in regards to Indigenous content because I do believe it to be an emerging area of social work theory and practice.

I also believe it to be very exciting, especially for Indigenous students of social work, that we now have two texts to draw on, Lorraine’s, mentioned above, and ‘Our voices : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work’, edited by Bindi Bennett, Sue Green, Stephanie Gilbert and Dawn Bessarab. These books need to be essential texts across all tertiary teaching institutions. Indigenous people, particularly in the Australian context need to be more recognised within social work as researchers, authors, practitioners and educators. This needs to be imbedded in social work education rather than placing us consistently as ‘clients’. I will also use this opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of more assessments tailored toward responding to the needs of Indigenous people. We are not a homogenous group and our needs are as diverse as the people we are.

I have to tip my hat to the AASW for providing these scholarships. I took away more from the conference than what I can write about here. It was great that once the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags did arrive they were displayed prominently at the AASW booth.

They certainly coloured the place in. Both ‘A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work and Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work’ were available to buy at the conference or online. Lorraine’s book sold out to local and international guests, which I think is just fantastic. There is no doubt that more can be done to enhance and strengthen social work in Australia and if there is a discussion that is interested in outcomes and changes influenced by the Indigenous voice, you can count me in.

This was originally published in the print edition of the AASW Spring Edition Bulletin


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[Book review] Creating agency in Aboriginal health by Dameyon Bonson

Reflections / Book reviews
Creating agency in Aboriginal health

Dameyon Bonson
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (9): 540.
doi: 10.5694/mja14.01096

PAT ANDERSON, chair of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, provides generous praise to the authors of this work for their valuable contribution to research and practice of empowerment in Aboriginal health (http://www.lowitja.org.au/promoting-aboriginal-health-family-wellbeing-empowerment-approach). When you read this text you will find that the praise is well deserved.

The full contents of this page are only available to subscribers.

https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2014/201/9/creating-agency-aboriginal-health

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[Survey] Exploring Indigenous Masculinity in Australia – For Indigenous Australians Males Only

Exploring Indigenous Masculinity in Australia – For Indigenous Australians Males Only.

I am an Indigenous Male and this is a preliminary survey that will assist me with constructing a presentation on Indigenous Masculinity that I will be giving in 2015.

All answers are anonymous. Your contribution is voluntary. This is insider research.

Please take this survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8H3V7S7

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#SuicidePrevention My meeting with @GerryGeorgatos as he spent time across the Kimberely to engage and to preliminarily listen to what people had to say.

An excerpt from “Kimberley suicide rate, one of the world’s highest – Yiriman is the way to go” by Gerry Georgatos

LGBTI

I met with Broome-based LGBTI advocate, Dameyon Bonson. Mr Bonson is a well-respected researcher and consultant in the field of LGBTI. LGBTI First Peoples face various pressures that can only be relieved by public discussions. Mr Bonson said that in general, 3 to 4 per cent of any population identifies as LGBTI, and therefore it is likely that 3 to 4 per cent of First Peoples identify as LGBTI.

Determining the size of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population is difficult. However, recent studies by Gates and Newport (2012) in the United States estimated the percentage of Americans who identify as LGBTI at approximately 3.4 per cent.

According to the ABS, “Within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population there were an estimated 294,000 children and young people, representing 4.2 per cent of the total Australian population aged 0 to 24 years.” Mr Bonson said that in using the American figure of 3.4 per cent, there are approximately 10,000 First Peoples who are LGTBI “and whose needs are yet to be identified.”

“They cannot be forgotten.”

Mr Bonson suggested that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are LGTBI “are at four times the risk of suicide than Indigenous Australians whom are not LGTBI, whose suicide risk is already higher than the general Australian population.”

“LGBTI people have the highest rates of suicidality of any population in Australia (LGBTI Health 2013), and my placing this overall data in the context of suicide makes a compelling argument that a response is required. Conversely, for Indigenous Australians the rate of suicide is ‘more than 4.2 per cent, or one in every 24 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders (The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013).”

“Health promotional programs for Indigenous, particularly those that are Government – State or Federal – have no actual Indigenous evaluation tools or methodology,” said Mr Bonson.

“Recently, at the Australasian Evaluation Society Conference in Darwin, I participated with 30 other Indigenous Australians to workshop what Indigenous evaluations should look like for Indigenous evaluators.”

“Therefore, current Government Indigenous programs are not meeting standards that we need to develop.”

“Mr Bonson is promoting the development of a Black Rainbow organisation, with more to be announced at a later time. However such a concentrated organisation should be able to generate educative discussions.”