December 10, 2009

Indigenous Community : Hope for the Future

Australian Aboriginal People
2.5%     Indigenous population in Australia in 2006
28%      Percentage of Aboriginal children with teenage mums
3           Times the Aboriginal male suicide rate is higher than non-Indigenous men. Most suicides happen between 25 and 34 years of age
It is not easy to define Aboriginal identity. People who identify themselves as 'Aboriginal' range from dark-skinned, broad-nosed to blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, very much to the surprise of non-Indigenous people. Aboriginal people define Aboriginality not by skin colour but by relationships.
55%     Percentage of mixed partnerships in 1996 where the woman was of Indigenous identity

Domestic & Family Violence
If you are an Indigenous woman living in rural and remote areas, you are 45 times more likely to experience domestic violence than a white woman. Violence patterns are passed on from parents to their children. It takes police up to two years to respond to cases of domestic violence and take victims seriously. Domestic violence in indigenous community extends to one-on-one fighting, abuse of Indigenous community workers and self-harm, injury or suicide.
4         Times an Aboriginal youth is more likely to be a victim of domestic violence than their white peer
40%    Percentage Indigenous children make up of all hospital admissions in the age group 0 to 4 who are admitted for assault

In 2008 Aboriginal men gathered to discuss how they could prevent domestic violence and why Aboriginal men were violent. They also
tried to explain the background of male domestic violence :
Patrick Dodson said that
"there has been a process of undermining the role and status of Aboriginal men within our society since the early days of Australia's colonisation and continuing in recent commentary around the Northern Territory intervention."

Chairman of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress John Liddle adds that "when you add to this the rapid changes in the role of males within that colonising society and the consequent dislocation of non-Aboriginal males and their struggle to define new self-images, it is no wonder that Aboriginal males may struggle to make sense of the contemporary world."

"And if those critical views of us as Aboriginal males are expressed with no effort to understand our cultural values, or the pressures caused by the colonial relationships and contemporary social transformations, then we become alienated from this society."

"This alienation is at the core of the struggle for male health and well-being, as it acts to debase men, stripping away their dignity and the meaning in their lives. We therefore need to confront these social relationships that shape our health."

In our next post Indigenous Community: Hope for the Future ,we'll tell you about Kimi Alcott , Aboriginal Artist and Enough is Enough'  Coordinator and Presenter for Indigenous Programs "Promise Keeper" and "Silent Anger".
We'll tell her story in the hope she may help others learn that there is hope and you can move on and stay strong and proud of who YOU are.

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