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Try something different for NAIDOC 2014

by PeakCare Qld on 10th July 2014

Home -> Articles -> 2014 -> July -> Try something different for NAIDOC 2014

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Amongst the hundreds of emails I receive each week, every now and again one arrives that captures my attention at a level different to others – a level that is more personal and emotive. I received one of those emails this week. It was an email that contained no words at all – just a link to a newspaper article. It was the words contained in this article, the author’s simple recounting of an event that she stumbled into one day, which made my goosebumps rise. As stated in its heading, this article tells a story about us all!

During our celebration of NAIDOC Week 2014, I invite all non-Indigenous readers of our blog posts to do something different this year. In addition to joining in this year’s celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, set aside a few minutes to think about what it means to be white and the impact of your ‘whiteness’ on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and colleagues with whom you interact.

Take it as a challenge to read this article, distribute it to others within your organisation and local networks, think about the relevance of this story to your work, and set aside some time to talk about it with others.

My guess is that when you discuss this article with others, many will preface their comments with “Yes, but…” before then proceeding to excuse practices that cannot be justified and distancing themselves from the significance of the article’s message to us all. If they do that, don’t let them get away with it! There are no ‘yes, buts’ when it comes to taking a stand against racial stereotyping and discrimination.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers of our blog posts are also invited to read the article, recognising that the perspective you will bring to appreciating its message will be entirely different.

I am interested to read about your responses to the article and to find out if it also gave you goosebumps.

What would you have done if you had been placed in the situation described by the author of this article?

What are the lessons to be learned from this article that can be applied to the design and delivery of child protection and related services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families?

What are the lessons to be learned about the values, attitudes and behaviours that we all bring to our jobs and our interactions with others?

Currently we are all being provided opportunities to shape ways in which the child protection reform agenda arising out of the Carmody Child Protection Inquiry are to be implemented and translated into practice. There can be no greater priority attached to the reform agenda than the one being assigned to addressing the grossly disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families at all points of the statutory child protection system. There can be no better starting point to addressing this than one that fundamentally challenges the values, attitudes and behaviours that people bring to the performance of their respective roles, the ways in which they consider and make decisions, and manner in which they interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families, Elders, community members and colleagues within their own and other organisations.

Please join the discussion and enter your comments below.

Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare Qld