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Giving a national voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.

On Tuesday 3 September, Amy Wright, Acting Service Coordinator (SILS), attended the Secretariat of National Aboriginal Islander Child Care (SNAICC) National Conference. 

 

All children deserve to thrive and fulfil their potential. SNAICC exists to see all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up healthy, happy and safe.

 

Amy would like to share some of the other key takeaways…

 

Session: “Building reflective practice & supportive workplaces”

Alison Elliott & Banu Moloney from Bouverie Centre (La Trobe University)- Translating knowledge into practice: a trauma-informed black and white model for reflective practice.

Alison and Banu talked about the importance of “listening” followed by a reading of “Dadirri” which translates to “deep listening”.

Aboriginal writer and senior elder Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann describes deep listening as follows…

“Dadirri is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call ‘contemplation’.

When I experience Dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need for words – a big part of Dadirri is listening.

My people are not threatened by silence. They are completely at home in it. They have lived for thousands of years with nature’s quietness. My people today, recognise and experience this quietness, the great Life-Giving Spirit, the Father of us all.

Dadirri also means awareness of where you’ve come from, why you are here, where you are going and where you belong. It can be used as a tool to quieten the mind as it teaches about “the quiet stillness and the waiting,” according to Ungunmerr-Baumann.

Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to wait. We do not try to hurry things up. We let them follow their natural course – like the seasons.”

 

Session: “Culturally responsive Therapeutic Care”

Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS) – Keeping culture strong – providing culturally responsive and therapeutic care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in residential care.

AFSS uses TCI and Positive Behaviour Support as practising theories behind their work. AFSS work in conjunction with Connected Self in order to provide evidence based, culturally safe, therapeutic support. AFSS focuses on embedding culture into practice and they have created their own culture plans which they create with young people.

Team Leaders have a weekly yarn (meet 1:1 with the young person and chat) about conversation points such as…

  • What’s something that has happened during the week that they’re really proud of?
  • Is there something that is really bothering them?
  • Is there something they would like to see implemented on the meal planner?

 

Session: “We should learn more about Aboriginal culture”

The Department of Social Services has been conducting one of the largest studies of Indigenous children across Australia. Close to 1700 families participated in a 2008 longitudinal study by the LSIC.

The study found that in schools where they had implemented Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cross-curriculum priority of histories and culture, – literacy and numeracy scores were higher for those children.

The study also found that in families with elders passing away and children growing up there were fewer opportunities to learn the language. One child was quoted “I wish I could learn my own language”. Tha LSIC study also suggests that bilingual children tend to have fewer emotional and social difficulties.

A simple thing that can positively impact children and young people is to learn some words in Kaurna (or language relevant to the YP’s heritage) and incorporate them into daily routines. For example: Niina Marni? Are you good? ie How are you? Nakutha Goodbye!

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