indigenist

Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing


Leave a comment

Diversity Consciousness – Inclusive Workplaces Increasing Health and Productivity 

The Pride in Practice Conference – Diversity into Consciousness 

With diversity an ever increasing need in the workplace, Dameyon Bonson, a Mangarayi and Torres Strait Islander man believes that it is only through inclusive practices that this can this be fully realised. If an inclusive world can provide better health outcomes, so too can an inclusive workplace. In 2013, Dameyon founded Black Rainbow Living Well for Indigenous LGBTI Suicide Prevention and Wellbeing. In this session, Dameyon will draw on his lived professional experience in the corporate, government and NGO sector, as an Indigenous gay man, to provide workplaces with the absolute fundamentals of healthy diversity in the workplace.

SESSION 4: Diversity of Consciousness, Black Rainbow 

IMG_4266

Pride in Diversity | Equality in the Workplace

Pride in Diversity is Australia’s first and only national not-for-profit employer support program for all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. Specialists in HR, organisational change and workplace diversity, Pride in Diversity has established itself as an internationally recognised program and a partner to many LGBTI employer support organisations across the globe.

The Pride in Practice Conference will take place from Monday 30th November – Wednesday 2nd December. To download a full copy of the Full Program here.

jpeg_2015_PID_logo

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Australasian Evaluation Society Conference – Indigenous Speaker notes from Final Plenary Session

Australasian Evaluation Society Conference – Indigenous Speaker notes from Final Plenary Session

Preamble

Introduce that a workshop was held on Monday for Indigenous people only

  • Mix of ages, gender, occupations, experience, nationalities, ethnicities, tribes and clans
  • Even with this diversity, some key common themes arose from our discussions, some of which have already been presented in Steve Larkin’s keynote and no doubt will also be picked up in Peter Mataira’s keynote

Theme 1

Power and control (and the relationship to ethics)

  • Who has the power?
  • Who controls the evaluation?
  • At what point are community brought into the evaluation?
  • And once brought in are they able to truly exercise any control over the information collected about them?

Theme 2 (Related to Theme 1)

Concerns around knowledge and expertise

Whose knowledge is privileged?
Who are the experts?
What happens when knowledge is shared in an evaluation process?
How much is ever returned to community to enable transformation and change?

Theme 3

Lots of discussion around the politics of evaluation and what happens when this is played out in the community.

Theme 4

And the purpose of evaluation:

  • Is evaluation activity simply to ensure continuation of programme funding?
  • Or are there bigger goals – wellbeing of a community for example”

Wrap-up and recommendations

  • In addition to these high level, systems level issues participants also offered a number of directions to AES, from things it could do immediately to support community and Indigenous, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander evaluators
  • An indigenous ethical framework, code of conduct, guidelines for those working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities Greater emphasis on two-way learning
  • Greater contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, including NACCHO More visibility in the community More training, education and support – from formal courses/workshops through to mentoring (for Indigenous and non-Indigenous)
  • More Indigenous evaluators!
Dr Amohia Boulton
Associate Director
Whakauae Research Services Ltd


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

Decolonisation and Neo-Cultural Gender Expression and Identity – Workshop

Decolonisation and Neo-Cultural Gender Expression and Identity

Within Indigenous Australian cultures the discourse on sexuality and gender outside of western constraints is extremely limited. When sexuality is discussed it is more often than not in the registers of pathology that in turn speaks to a heterocentric discourse. This session will use a six stages of decolonisation process, by Dr Lorraine Muller, as a response to the cultural challenges and to identify strengths in Indigenous *LGBT people. LGBQT is presupposed as counterfeit descriptor that misconstrues pre-settler colonial Indigenous gender variance and diverse sexualities. This session will explore the idea of “Neo-Cultural Gender Expression and Identity” as a dynamic part of our cultural evolution.


Leave a comment

[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

IMG_2324.JPG


Leave a comment

Malaria kills nearly one million people each year – Public Health Poetry

Malaria Poems by Cameron Conaway

IMG_2253.JPG
Malaria kills nearly one million people each year. Hundreds of millions more are sickened by the disease, and many of them are permanently disabled. Billions are spent each year to understand it. Researchers know the molecular details of the interaction between the mosquito and our own red blood cells, and the myriad ways in which malaria impacts the global economy and the advancement of humanity. But what of the public? Though its story is told in thousands of articles and in hundreds of books, many in the developed world are unaware of how prevalent malaria still is. “Malaria, Poems” testifies to the importance of bridging the chasm between science and art. It adds thread to a tattered and tragic global narrative; it is poetry’s attempt to reawaken care in a cold case that keeps killing. According to Cicero the aim of the orator is threefold: to teach, to delight, and to move. Poets during the renaissance embraced this idea, and Malaria, Poems reinvigorates it. Allen Ginsberg called for a poetry of social consciousness, a “bare knuckle warrior poetics.” Cameron Conaway, a former MMA fighter, offers” Malaria, Poems” both as a response to Ginsberg’s call and as a new call to contemporary poetry.

IMG_2254.JPG