Educating for Reconciliation, the Rights Approach
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Educating for Reconciliation: the ‘Rights’ Approach
Peter Lewis ANTaR Victoria
200 years ago…
•Over 400 nations within this continent • Each nation had every institution we currently have in Australia • Law, belief, occupations, family structures, trade, art, recreation and systems of ‘Government’ •People have lived on this land for over 60,000 years
• Many people like to be called by their country name – •Dark green area is what is also known as the Kulin Nations Yorta Yorta, Wathaurung etc much like the Europeans prefer being called French, Irish etc.
Traditional Circles of Nurture, Learning and Care Community
The Great Divide: Cross-cultural Cross-over Aboriginal
Economics based on environmental sustainability
Economics based on production and consumption
Spirituality based on the land and waters
Spirituality (in most cases) based on sacred, written texts
Law ‘written’ in the land, passed through ancestral story telling, unchanging
Law established by common law (past judicial judgements) or parliament, constantly changing
Politics based on consensus of Elders
Politics based on representative democracy and power elites
Child rearing involves extended family and whole community
Child rearing based on nuclear family
Disadvantaged by process of colonisation
Advantaged by colonisation
Aboriginal Reserves and Missions in Victoria
•People of different language groups were gathered and forced to live together in places convenient to the dominant culture
Movement & Transfer of Population between Missions
• Family groups were split •Young men were often sent far away to work •Young women were sent to domestic service, • Even when land was granted, it was taken back at the whim of white authority
Terra nullius ‘empty land’ no peoples, no connection to land, treated like flora and fauna ‘protection’
forced separation, forced removal, assimilation ‘whitening’ race Stolen Generations – forced separation of children No self-determination, no citizenship rights, no rights as peoples
A question of foundations • No consent, no treaty – despite instructions from Britain • Intention 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
Invasion and Conquest 1788- 1858 1788 Europeans arrive in Australia 1790 First Contact in many areas. Misunderstandings. Death through disease. Frontier wars. Resistance and battles. 1837
Board of Protection of Aborigines established – They were given the power to determine where Aboriginal people lived.
Segregation 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.
1933 A 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‘. 1937
Assimilation Policy endorsed at the first Commonwealth State conference on Native Welfare. 1938 Petition to Queen by Australian Aborigines League. Protest at German Consulate by Australian Aborigines League
Jack 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.
Assimilation 1951-1970 1951
By 1951 all Australian governments claimed they had adopted a policy of 'assimilating' Aboriginal people into the wider society The 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".
Learning from the past – Stolen Generations
The practice of removal was based on the assumption that – disconnection from Aboriginal culture was in the best interests of the child and – Aboriginal communities should not determine their own future
Assimilation 1951-1970 1957 Aborigines Protection Board changed to Aborigines Welfare Board to assist the assimilation policy 1966 Policy shift: Indigenous children should stay with their families if possible 1967 In 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.
The 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
Post 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. 1975 Land Rights Acts. Racial Discrimination Act. Mostly bi-partisan approach to Indigenous affairs.
1970s Establishment of many Aboriginal organisations.
Post 1967 Policies 1989 Royal 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 children
1991 Bi-partisan Policy of Reconciliation. Establishment of Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. 1992
High Court Mabo Decision (end of bi-partisan approach) and PM Keating’s Redfern Speech
Post 1967 Policies 1996 Wik Decision – pastoral leases don’t necessarily extinquish native title 1997 National 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 apologise 1998 First Sorry Day. Native Title Amendment Act passed
Post 1967 Policies 2000 Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Final Report calls for ‘negotiated framework agreement’. Reconciliation Walks – 1 000 000 participate in walks across the nation 2004 Federal Government announces the mainstreaming of Government services and the abolition of ATSIC 2007 Federal Government announces the NT Emergency Intervention. Overrides Racial Discrimination Act
Colonisation as an ongoing toxic reality – Loss of self-determination (disempowerment) • Treated as client communities
– Loss 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/disrespect
The Howard Years: Federal Policy Impasse • Acknowledging the past and its impact on the present vs. denialism
• Self-determination vs. mainstreaming • Restoring capacity through cultural respect vs. blaming culture • Addressing the ‘unfinished business’ vs. ‘practical reconciliation’
Rudd Government Approaches • Apology to the Stolen Generations and Welcome to Country • Adjustments to NT Emergency Intervention • National Indigenous Representative Body • Signing of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights • Healing Foundation • Evidence-based Approach • Closing the Gap
The NT Intervention Issues • the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act • hasn’t followed the recommendations of the “Little Children Are Sacred” Report • the blanket treatment of all welfare recipients and the loss of dignity and shame that people experience when shopping with their compulsory BasicsCard • Reported drop in nutrition statistics • Government Business Managers have replaced Aboriginal community councils • that more well being and health comprehensive services should all be provided.
Closing 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.
• 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 nonIndigenous counterparts.
• 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.
Victorian Aboriginal Children Policy • Self-determination • Best interests of the child – Acknowledgement of importance of Aboriginal culture and connection for the child
• Aboriginal Child Placement Principle • Transfer of authority to Aboriginal agencies • Cultural plans • Cultural competence
Currents in Indigenous Policy Colonisation. Separation. Assimilation. Cultural Blame. Resistance. Rights. Cultural Respect.
Forces For and Against Cultural Safety a) internal strength-based processes within Aboriginal communities which encourage cultural resilience and resistance and b) external processes of the colonised environment which are generated from the broader society.
Cultural 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 stories • History of resistance – eg. Cold Morning, Jupiter, Cocknose, Barak, Cooper, the Walk Off, Patton, setting up of Koorie orgs • Cultural expression – songs/music and art
Addressing the causal factors The problem • No self-determination • Little respect for culture • Fear and mistrust The answer – Self-determination, capacity building, partnerships and cultural competence
Colonisation and its Echoes • Homelessness – terra nullius/empty land, disconnection from land, moved onto reserves/missions • Powerlessness – no law, lack of acknowledgment of Aboriginal authorities, not citizens until 1967, lack of real self-determination • Poverty – no ownership, no recognition of traditional economies, limited access to dominant culture economy, dependency • Disorientation/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)
Three Keys to Cultural Safety • Respect for, and processes towards, self-determination • Resourcing Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander-led Solutions • Respect for culture and addressing racism
Human 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.
Self-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 partners
UN 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 selfdetermination as involving the free choice of political status and the freedom to pursue economic, social and cultural development.
EXAMPLE OF COMMUNITY-LEVEL INDICATORS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO A HEALTH OUTCOME –
Rate of youth suicide
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.
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: 125-140. 2006).
Practical self-determination • self-determination needs – to be resourced, – capacity building; – respectful dialogue, partnership and community development.
Aboriginal and Islander people want rights not welfare so they can action their responsibilities .
Culture – meaning and identity “Culture frames the identity of all people Our senses see, hear, taste, feel and smell the world through culture Culture 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 Bamblett
Culture Abuse “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.” Muriel Bamblett
Cultural Competence Continuum Cultural Destructiveness
Cultural Pre competence
Towards cultural competence Characterised by
Intentional attitudes policies & practices that are destructive to cultures and consequently to individuals within the Culture
Lack of capacity to help minority clients or Communities due to extremely biased beliefs and a paternal attitude toward those not of a mainstream culture
The belief that service or helping approaches traditionally used by the dominant culture are universally applicable regardless of race or culture. These services ignore cultural strengths and encourage assimilation
The desire to deliver quality services and a commitment to diversity indicated by hiring minority staff, initiating training and recruiting minority members for agency leadership, but lacking information on how to maximise these capacities. This level of competence can lead to tokenism
Acceptance and respect for difference continuing self assessment, careful attention to the dynamics of difference, continuous expansion of knowledge and resources, and adaptation of services to better meet the needs of diverse populations
Holding culture in high esteem: seeking to add to the knowledge base of culturally competent practice by conducting research, influencing approaches to care, and improving relations between cultures Promotes self determination
Conceptual Framework • Cultural Awareness – Knowledge with Understanding • Commitment to Aboriginal Self-determination and Respectful Partnerships– the Ground Rules • Cultural Respect - Attitude and Values • Cultural Responsiveness – Ability and Skills • Cultural Safety – Environment and Client Experience
“Racism Makes us Sick” • Internalised racism • Interpersonal racism • Systemic/Institutional racism
Interrogate our terra nullius blindness (whiteness) Peggy McIntosh - the “invisible knapsack”. I can arrange to be in the company of my race most of the time If I need to move to rent or buy or if I need credit my skin colour will not be an obstruction to getting the property I can turn on the telly and see my race widely represented I can swear, get drunk, dress in second hand clothes, not answer letters without people saying how typical of my race I can do well without being called a credit to my race I am never asked to speak for all people of my race.
Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation The Declaration Towards Reconciliation, The Roadmap Towards Reconciliation – which included national strategies for – sustaining the reconciliation process, – promoting the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, – overcoming disadvantage and – economic independence
Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge (the Council’s final report) recommendations for • COAG to implement and monitor a national framework to overcome disadvantage • Support/strategies for The Declaration Towards Reconciliation and The Roadmap Towards Reconciliation by all governments • change the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples in a new preamble, remove the ‘race powers’ (Section 25) and introduce constitutional protections against racial discrimination • commitments 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 and • enact legislation to put in place a process towards agreement/treaty to resolve the unfinished business of reconciliation
“Indigenous people want very little. They just want justice”. 1. Acknowledge Sovereignty: 2. Be Honest about our history: 3. Safeguard Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: 4. Recognise and Respect Aboriginal culture:
5. Seek Aboriginal representation in all areas and at all levels of civic society: 6. Pay reparations:
Close 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 agreements • Time to reframe the national identity
Treatment Treat each other - human rights as meeting place and rules of engagement o Self-determination and cultural respect Healing o of relationships with each other – tackling racism and white privilege o within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities – restoring culture and tackling lateral violence Writing a new story - a new shared narrative, a new shared identity