Wow! What a great start to SNAICC 2019 Conference. It kicked off with a Welcome to Country from Traditional Owner Kauran Descendant, Uncle Micky Kumpati Marrutyu O’Brien. Followed by the Yellaka Old Wisdom New Ways, smoking ceremony and performance, which drew the audience into a warm cultural space, setting circle for the sharing of knowledge, wisdom and stories throughout the conference.
The Welcome Address was presented by Muriel Bamblett, Chairperson, SNAICC-National Voice for our Children. Muriel shared great wisdom and knowledge. I learnt:
- To be open to learn and challenge new things.
- To not be afraid to talk about the big issues that affect our families.
- How we can address trauma within our families.
- The importance of collective wisdom and knowledge for best practice to build and strengthen our community.
- SNAICC is working on a strategy around Closing the Gap with consultations around permanency and over representation.
- That by the year 2030 kids in care will have tripled if no action is taken.
Muriel closed by asking that we (collective) join SNAICC on their quest in holding the rights of children and for our children to live and thrive on the land of their Ancestors.
The Keynote Speaker Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, gave a heartfelt summary of the UN Country Report of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. The report will be presented to the UN this month. Some facts were astounding and I learnt:
- About racial discrimination in the Cleveland Detention Centre, where 90% imprisoned are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
- Australia is below international standards because kids under the age of 10 are imprisoned.
- Sometimes they are imprisoned just because they are poor.
- The UN Law around the rights of children focusing on how rights can be embedded into practice and implemented in the work in a culturally appropriate way.
- A trauma informed approach is one of the recommendations.
Victoria closed her talk with 9 recommendations and emphasised that the strengthening of community is the best measure to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
I attended a concurrent session presented by a community in the OC network about Dampier Peninsula Community Navigators Empowering Kimberley Families through their Aboriginal-led WAAPI – Woombooriny Amboon Angarriiya Partnership Initiative (the name means ‘All People Moving Forwards Together’ in the local Bardi and Nyul Nyul languages).
Aboriginal Community Navigators empower Kimberley families within their communities to create positive social change for their children and young people. They shared with us the challenges faced, lessons learnt and achievements in bringing people together to work together to improve outcomes for Dampier Peninsula Aboriginal people. I was blown away by their work and commitment in bringing together four communities, even collecting their own data through a community cultural process.
Their number one priority is around the Early Years (from conception to 3 years). Key activities include:
- Co-designing with and building community awareness
- Running Early Years workshops, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder parenting workshops, and Baby wellbeing centres
- Promoting storytelling to children
- Promoting antenatal care
The priority serves their co-designed Vision:
“With respect and trust we work in equal partnership to strengthen happy and thriving Dampier Peninsula communities where our babies, little children and our youth are strong, proud, smart, healthy and connected in their family, community and culture with guidance from our elders.”
Thank you SNAICC for a great day 1 and I am looking forward to day 2 and 3, to more learnings and connections.
Gari Yala (Speak the Truth),
#YarnTime #SNAICC2019 #voicetreatytruth #strongerfamilies #strongercommunities #childrenthriving
Read more: https://www.snaicc.org.au/update-8th-snaicc-national-conference-day-one/