Aboriginal World Views
Aboriginal World Views are a way of understanding the world. Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi recognises that Aboriginal World Views are diverse yet still largely inform the way Aboriginal people experience the world and have relationship with land, family, culture and community. Aboriginal World Views are distinctly different from a Western way of understanding the world.
“Aboriginal worldviews lay the foundation for cultural safety, trauma informed and trauma specific care and practices for Aboriginal people” (Mareese Terare, Bundjalung woman, 2014)
Dadirri – Deep Listening To One Another
Dadirri: A word from the language of the Ngangikurungkurr people of the Daly River area of the Northern Territory. Dadirri has been called “the Aboriginal gift”. Miriam Rose Ungunmerr (1993a) says it is a “special quality, a unique gift of the Aboriginal people. It is inner deep listening and quiet, still awareness – something like what you call contemplation”
While Dadirri is a word that belongs to the language of the Ngan’gikurunggur peoples, the activity or practice of Dadirri has its equivalence in many other Aboriginal groups in Australia.
The principles and functions of Dadirri are: a knowledge and consideration of community and the diversity and unique nature that each individual brings to community; ways of relating and acting within community; a non-intrusive observation, or quietly aware watching; a deep listening and hearing with more than the ears.
Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi extends the concept of Dadirri to the way we relate to key stakeholders, to our work codes and code of conduct and to our model of care for Aboriginal families, children and young people.
In our local language, the word “listen” translates to “Ngara”. We relate “Ngara”, a word used in the name of organisation, to the concept of Dadirri.
Cultural Learning – The Importance Of Identity And Connections
Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi acknowledges that Aboriginal culture has not remained static over time and has adapted according to the influence of many different factors including colonisation. Kinship responsibility, knowledge of family, country and community is still at the core of our cultural identity and is still very much a part of contemporary Aboriginal societies.
Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi understands the importance of cultural knowledge and how it relates to the individual in terms of their identity. To enhance and nurture cultural identity there must be an emphasis placed on ongoing cultural learning.
Shared Community Responsibility For Children And Young People
Community is where I can share my innermost thoughts, bring out the depths of my own feelings, and know they will be understood. Communication makes community and is the possibility of human beings living together for their mutual psychological, physical and spiritual nourishment. (Rollo May, 1976:246-7)
Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi believes that Aboriginal children and young people who enter the out of home care system should be recognised as our most disadvantaged and vulnerable of our people and as such the Aboriginal Community has a responsibility for their safety and wellbeing.
Working With Children In A Culturally Safe Environment
“Cultural Safety is more or less – an environment, which is safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together.” (Williams, R. Cultural Safety – what does it mean for our work practice? (1999, p.213)
Principles and practices of cultural safety are essential skills required to work with all people, in particular children who have been damaged by painful childhood experiences.
Strengths Based Practice and Resilience
Strengths based practice is a way of working with people that focuses on their strengths resources and aspirations.
Resilience is the capacity to adapt and rebound from stressful life events, strengthened and more resourceful (Daniel et al, 2012)
Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi maintains a strengths based practice and resilience framework in all that they do. However, we acknowledge the paramount need for effective risk management and will not minimise risk to vulnerable people in the pursuit of a strengths perspective.
Trauma Informed And Trauma Specific Care And Practice
Bessel van der Kolk, in his most recent research on developmental impact of childhood trauma, writes:
“Childhood trauma, including abuse and neglect is probably the single most important public health challenge (we face)…a challenge that has the potential to be largely resolved by appropriate prevention and intervention” (van der Kolk, B. 2007 p.224)
Childhood trauma has both long term negative health outcomes, as well as generational transference of attitudes and behaviour. Hence, historical trauma transference across family and communal systems can result.
The work of Judith Herman recognises that, where trauma has occurred, there is usually a disconnection and disempowerment that may increase vulnerability and exposure to further adverse childhood experiences. Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi believes that part of the recovery process must involve reconnection and re-empowerment from an Aboriginal World View.
A clear understanding of Developmental Trauma in complex trauma environments is essential knowledge required to work with our Aboriginal families, children and young people who have been hurt by painful childhood experiences. Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi recognises that our work requires knowledge of the effects of childhood trauma, and acknowledges that by considering trauma informed language and practices within our work, we have the opportunity to start the healing process for Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care.