March 31, 2011

Closing The Cultural Gap

Kimi Alcott  Mother Earth
Australian Aboriginal People
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
40% Percentage Indigenous children make up of all hospital admissions in the age group 0 to 4 who are admitted for assault
75% Percentage of Aboriginal people who return to NSW jails after 11 months of being released
Closing the gap is a strategy that aims to reduce Indigenous disadvantage with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes. Endorsed by the Australian Government in March 2008, Closing the gap is a formal commitment developed in response, to the call of the Social Justice Report 2005 to achieve Indigenous health equality within 25 years.
        The Indigenous Health Summit, held in March 2008, concluded with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, issuing, on behalf of the Australian Government and the Indigenous peoples of Australia, a Statement of Intent ‘to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030' (Indigenous Health Equality Summit Statement of Intent ).

Kimi Alcott, Enough is Enough's Cultural Coordinator, Presentor and Aboriganal artist talking about Closing The Cultural Gap and our work at EIE.
Kimi Alcott with Indiginous girls who will participate in the next Enough is Enough's Dreamtime Divas Project
In closing the cultural gap we need to focus on building an understanding of Aboriginal people to the Non-Indigenous community, as the media only presents predominantly negative stories. In addition to this, we need to give Indigenous people successful role models with indigenous backgrounds, so they can be proud of their heritage and be motivated to achieve.

Our initiative at Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement based in Sutherland was to hold a seminar with Indigenous presenters speaking of their journey to where they are today. These speakers are doctors, teachers, and government officers, as well as a young person, a domestic violence victim and an ex-prisoner.

Within this text I believe that our colour, culture or background cannot be used as an excuse for failure, no matter who you are. We can’t change the past but we can make a better future by not making the same mistakes s made in the past.

Through their stories, attendees learn about resilience and the courage not only to survive, but also to achieve. I am now living in the Sutherland Shire south of Sydney, after coming from Central West NSW. I am still amazed about the lack of information and sometimes miss-information out there. Most Aboriginal people have been asked at some stage “Doesn’t the government give you a house and a car”., and this still happens in 2011!

I believe that to achieve peace and harmony in society we need to understand and accept our Indigenous people. Our Indigenous people need to accept and understand our Non-Indigenous people of all backgrounds who share this land today. At the end of the day we are all humans, we all bleed red blood. Understanding is the first step for all parties involved to heal and move forward to a more positive future, and we are not only Australians but part of a much bigger global society.

"The way Aboriginal people speak - it's different. Non-Aboriginal kids didn't understand why kids called me Auntie Jess - but it's a sign of respect and the idea that family and community are one. A lot of the Stolen Generation don't know their birth mother. That's why community with its aunties, uncles and cousins is equal to family". - Jessica Staines, Childhood educator.

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