Just want to be Black: Practice thoughts on Aboriginal Ways

Annabelle Sharman, Meaghan Katrak Harris

Abstract


 

Over recent decades there has been a long overdue movement within social work and other areas of health and human services towards the acknowledgment and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges. In celebrating this, we acknowledge that social work has historically been predominantly a white western centric profession in Australia. Social workers implemented policies of assimilation such as those which led to the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and communities which we now know as The Stolen Generations, and continue to be part of large, structurally racist institutions.

This article examines, through yarning, practice experiences that honour Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing in the social work context from an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspective. Yarning is the practice of reciprocal sharing, deep listening and retelling, allowing new understandings to emerge.  We found genuine cultural safety is evidenced in often overlooked ways in which Aboriginal People centre and place themselves in relation to place and connection.  We argue that the intrinsic ‘whiteness’ of the service system continues to place Aboriginal Peoples as the ‘Other’ disallowing this. While token efforts to create ‘culturally safe spaces’ may emerge, genuine celebration and honouring of Aboriginal people’s cultural identity in all its diversity must come for social work to truly embrace Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing.


Full Text:

PDF

References


References

Atkinson, P., Baird, M., and Adams. K. (2021) “Are You Really Using Yarning Research? Mapping Social and Family Yarning to Strengthen Yarning Research Quality.” AlterNative : an international journal of indigenous peoples 17.2 (2021): 191–201. Web.

Bennett, B., (2015) “Stop Deploying Your White Privilege on Me!” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement with the Australian Association of Social Workers, Australian Social Work, 68:1, 19 31, DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2013.840325

Bessarab, D., & Ng’andu, B. (2010). Yarning About Yarning as a Legitimate Method in Indigenous Research. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 3(1), 37-50. https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcis.v3i1.57

Cassidy, J. (2006). The Stolen Generations- Canada and Australia: The Legacy of Assimilation. Deakin Law Review, 11(1), 131-177.

Calma, T,. Pat Dudgeon , P,. and Abigail Bray, A., (2017) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health, Australian Psychologist, 52:4, 255-260, DOI: 10.1111/ap.12299

Curtis, E., Jones, R., Tipene-Leach, D., Walker, C., Loring, B., Paine, S.-J., & Reid, P. (2019). Why cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity: a literature review and recommended definition. International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(1), 174–174. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-019-1082-3

Davy, C. “What Keeps You Strong? A Systematic Review Identifying How Primary Health‐care and Aged‐care Services Can Support the Well‐being of Older Indigenous Peoples.” Australasian journal on ageing. 35.2 (2016): 90–97. Web.

Fernando T., Bennett B. (2019) ‘Creating a culturally safe space when teaching Aboriginal content in social work: A scoping review’, Australian Social Work, 72(1), pp. 47–61.

Frankland, R., Bamblett, M., & Lewis, P. (2011). “Forever business” : a framework for maintaining and restoring cultural safety in Aboriginal Victoria. Indigenous Law Bulletin, 7(24), 27–30.

Gee, G., Dudgeon, P., Schultz, C., Hart, A., & Kelly, K. (2014). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing. In P. Dudgeon, H. Milroy, & R. Walker (Eds.), Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice (2nd ed., pp. 55-58). Commonwealth Government of Australia. https://www.telethonkids.org.au/ globalassets/media/documents/aboriginal-health/working-together-second-edition/wt-part-1-chapt-4-final.pdf

Geia, L. K., Hayes, B., & Usher, K. (2013). Yarning/Aboriginal storytelling: Towards an understanding of an Indigenous perspective and its implications for research practice. Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 46(1), 13–17. https://doi.org/10.5172/conu.2013.46.1.13

Gibson, C., Crockett, J., Dudgeon, P., Bernoth, M., Lincoln, M. (2020). Sharing and valuing older Aboriginal people’s voices about social and emotional wellbeing services: A strength-based approach for service providers. Aging & Mental Health, 24(3), 481–488. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2018.1544220Google Scholar

Katrak, M. (2015). Welfare, Social Work and an Indigenous Community: Mission to Town. Common Ground Publishing, Illinois.

Kovach, M. (2009). Indigenous methodologies: characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Lawrence, R.J. (2016) Professional Social Work in Australia. Canberra: ANU Press. Web.

Moreton-Robinson, A. (2004). Whitening Race: Essays in social and cultural criticism. AIATSIS. https://doi.org/10.3316/informit.0855754656

Paradies, Y. C. (2006). Beyond black and white: essentialism, hybridity and Indigeneity. [Paper in special issue: Beyond the Margins/Beyond Marginality.]. Journal of Sociology (Melbourne, Vic.), 42(4), 355–367. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783306069993

Parter, C. (2021). Decolonising Public Health Policies: Rightfully Giving Effect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Knowledges and Cultures of Ways of Being, Knowing and Doing in Public Health Policies. University of Sydney.

Rigney, L. I. (2001). A first perspective of Indigenous Australian participation in science: Framing Indigenous research towards Indigenous Australian intellectual sovereignty. Kaurna Higher Education Journal, 7, 1–13.

Shepherd, S.M., Delgado, R.H., and Paradies. Y. (2018). Inter-Relationships Among Cultural Identity, Discrimination, Distress, Agency and Safety Among Indigenous People in Custody. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, , 17(2), 111-121.

Smith, L. T. (2021). Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples (Third edition.). Zed Books.

Terare, M., and Rawsthorne, M., (2020) Country Is Yarning to Me: Worldview, Health and Well-Being Amongst Australian First Nations People, The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 50, Issue 3, April 2020, Pages 944–960, https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.sydney.edu.au/10.1093/bjsw/bcz072

Walter, M., Sandra Taylor, S., and Habibis, D. (2011) How White is Social Work in Australia?, Australian Social Work, 64:1, 6-19, DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2010.510892

Williams, R. (1999). Cultural safety - what does it mean for our work practice? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 23(2), 213–214. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-842X.1999.tb01240.x

Williamson, A., Redman, S., Dadds, M., Daniels, J., D’Este, C., Raphael, B, Eades, S. & Skinner, T. (2010). Acceptability of an emotional and behavioural screening tool for children in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in urban NSW. Australian and New 180 Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44, 894–900. https://doi:10.3109/00048674.2010.489505

Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing

Wilson, S., (2008). Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Williamson, A., Redman, S., Dadds, M., Daniels, J., D’Este, C., Raphael, B, Eades, S. & Skinner, T. (2010). Acceptability of an emotional and behavioural screening tool for children in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in urban NSW. Australian and New 180 Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44, 894–900. https://doi:10.3109/00048674.2010.489505

Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Halifax: Fernwood

Publishing

Wilson, S., (2008). Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

ISSN 2209-0878