<![CDATA[Sharing Culture - David's Blog]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2018 21:31:05 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Trauma and Its Impact]]>Sun, 22 Apr 2018 23:01:10 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/trauma-and-its-impactPicture
I updated and 'cleaned up' (e.g. removed dead links) the trauma sections of Sharing Culture last week. This process reminded me how much content was available on these pages. Please check them out out.

I also started reading Bessel van der Kolk's remarkable book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma again last week. Certainly, one of the best non-fiction books I have read in many years. It you want to learn more about then healing trauma, this book is an essential read. Here are two long quotes from the book:


'Research from these new disciplines [neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, interpersonal neurobiology] has revealed that trauma produces actual physiological changes, including a recalibration of the brain’s alarm system, an increase in stress hormone activity, and alterations in the system that filters relevant information from irrelevant.

We now know that trauma  compromises the brain area that communicates the physical, embodied feeling of being alive.

These changes explain why traumatized individuals become hypervigilant to threat at the expense of spontaneously engaging in their day-to-day lives.

They also help us understand why traumatized people so often keep repeating the same problems and have such trouble learning from experience. 

We now that their behaviours are not the result of moral failings or signs of willpower or bad character - they are caused by actual changes in the brain.'
 Bessel van der Kolk

‘We have also begun to understand how overwhelming experiences affect our innermost sensations and our relationship to our physical reality - the core of who we are.

We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past: it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, body and brain. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present.

Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our capacity to think. 

We have discovered that helping victims of trauma find the words to describe what has happened to them is profoundly meaningful, but usually is not enough.

The act of telling the story doesn’t necessarily alter the automatic physical and hormonal responses of bodies that remain hypervigilant, prepared to be assaulted or violated at any time.

For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.

Our search to understand trauma has led us to think differently not only about the structure of the mind but also the processes by which it heals.’ Bessel van der Kolk


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<![CDATA['What We Can Learn from the Aboriginal Understanding of the Environment' by Bruce Pascoe]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:31:28 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/what-we-can-learn-from-the-aboriginal-understanding-of-the-environment-by-bruce-pascoe
"Everything that you do to the earth you have to be prepared to do to your mother. If you're not prepared to hurt your mother do not hurt the earth because she is in fact your mother. That's the essence of Aboriginal culture and law. It comes up all the time and yet we despise the earth. We think we can change it with fertiliser and with pesticide and with river redirection and all kinds of manipulation of the earth." Bruce Pascoe

Some powerful words from a very special man.

Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong, Yuin and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor.

​His book 
Fog a Dox won the Young Adult category of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His most recent book is Dark Emu: Black Seeds: agriculture or accident, which won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award in 2016.
 
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<![CDATA[Sharing Culture: 12 Principles of Indigenous Healing]]>Wed, 18 Apr 2018 23:16:27 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/sharing-culture-12-principles-of-indigenous-healing
When I was first developing Sharing Culture, I did a great deal of reading about the healing of trauma and intergenerational trauma. I summarised what I considered to be 12 principles of healing. Here are those principles, along with the main aims of our initiative. I hope these are of interest.
 
Sharing Culture is an education initiative to help Indigenous peoples heal from intergenerational trauma and its consequences (e.g. mental health problems, addiction). It is based on the core values of acceptance, authenticity, connection, courage, creativity and empathy.

Sharing Culture aims to build educational and storytelling resources that (1) empower Indigenous people to heal, (2) help people create environments in which healing can flourish, and (3) reduce barriers to healing (e.g. racism, paternalism) in wider society. 

​We adopt a strengths-based, solution-focused approach that celebrates success and cultivates positivity, acceptance and cultural pride. In addition, we use principles known to facilitate healing.

1. The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be recognised and respected
Sharing Culture emphasises that recognition of, and respect for, the Human Rights of Indigenous peoples is fundamental to improving their health and wellbeing. Society must ensure that Indigenous peoples have full and effective participation in decisions that directly or indirectly affect their lives. 

Their wellbeing is tied to their collective rights, such as rights to land and cultural practices, and maintenance and application of traditional knowledge. Self-determination is the key foundation of Indigenous healing.


2. Help people understand the nature of the problem
Society must understand how Indigenous peoples’ problems have arisen if it is to facilitate healing. 


Sharing Culture shows how intergenerational trauma and its consequences, arising from the process of colonisation, have impacted negatively on Indigenous peoples’ health and wellbeing. This intergenerational trauma is exacerbated by ongoing social and economic disadvantage, racism and paternalism, and the failure of government healthcare systems to address trauma directly. 

Learning history from an Indigenous perspective - and about the impact of intergenerational trauma and its consequences - helps Indigenous people understand why they have problems. It shows them that they retain the necessary agency to change their lives for the better. It helps them deal with shame and blame, factors that impact negatively on social and emotional wellbeing.  

3. Focus on solutions, strengths, positive narratives and celebrating success
Whilst Sharing Culture highlights the nature of the problems, it focuses on finding solutions. We also focus on the strengths and assets of Indigenous peoples, rather than their weaknesses and deficits (as much of society does today). 


We create positive narratives about Indigenous peoples and their culture, in order to counter the disempowering negative narratives and paternalistic actions of governments and wider society. We celebrate the successes of Indigenous peoples in order to facilitate healing.   

4. Healing trauma
Sharing Culture emphasises the necessity of healing trauma and its consequences directly, rather than managing its symptoms by medication, as is generally the case today. Medication does not heal trauma - it generally causes more health issues and disempowers Indigenous people further. 


Sharing Culture shows that society has the knowledge - from both Indigenous and western cultures - to help people heal from trauma and its consequences. We show what trauma does at a biological, psychological and social level, and demonstrate how these changes can be reversed. 

5. Empowerment and connection 
Sharing Culture is creating a powerful voice of healing (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) that empowers and connects people. Empowerment and connection are the foundation of healing from trauma and its consequences. 


We empower people to heal by giving them hope (that healing is possible), understanding (of how healing can be achieved) and a sense of belonging. 

We aim to connect people to safe and empathic environments, where they feel accepted and supported, learn how to improve their health and wellbeing, and gain a positive identity. We also connect Indigenous peoples to their culture, land, spirituality, family, community and history, as this is key to healing. 

6. Tell Healing Stories
Many Indigenous people have healed from trauma and its consequences, showing the necessary coping mechanisms, skills and knowledge, to rise above adversity. Their personal narratives are of considerable value, since they inspire other people and help them understand how they too can overcome their problems. 


People in the early stages of healing identify with and trust the experiences of someone who is further along in their journey. Who better to help us than someone who has ‘been there’? 

7. Storytelling
Storytelling is a healing ritual amongst Indigenous people. In a culturally safe environment (e.g. healing circle), Indigenous people can share experiences by telling their Story (which is often a trauma Story), help each other come to terms with the emotional pain caused by what has happened to them in their past, and make sense of their personal story in relationship to the collective, communal Story.  During this process, Indigenous people can work through multiple levels of loss and grief. 

8. Facilitate self-healing and self-care
Healing comes from the person, not from treatment or a professional. Indigenous peoples must develop self-awareness, self-regulation, self-expression and self-care skills to facilitate their journey to wellness.


The Sharing Culture education resources will facilitate these processes and help people deal with shame and negative thinking; learn about mindfulness, self-compassion and forgiveness; and develop resilience. It will help our audience understand the nature of society’s treatment and support systems, and how they can navigate their way around these systems.

9. Highlight Indigenous worldview and Indigenous Healing initiatives
Sharing Culture highlights the holistic view of Indigenous health that incorporates the physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social and environmental. The Indigenous worldview of wellbeing is far richer than western culture’s view of mental health. 


We also highlight successful Indigenous healing initiatives so that the approaches they use are more widely adopted. We help people understand traditional healing approaches, Indigenous spirituality, and the importance of connections to culture and land. 

10. Create cultural pride and cultural connectedness
Sharing Culture aims to create cultural pride in order to facilitate cultural connectedness, which in turn enhances wellbeing and facilitates healing. We do this by celebrating Indigenous art, music, ceremony, dance, theatre, history, land, food, language, stories and spirituality. 


We show how Indigenous peoples are far more protective of their environment and planet than are non-Indigenous peoples. We not only facilitate cultural connectedness, but also enhance understanding of Indigenous culture in wider society.  

11. Whole community healing 
Sharing Culture advocates the Native American “Healing Forest” approach, which emphasises the importance of actively healing the whole community and its institutions at the same time that individuals work on their own healing. What is the point of someone learning to overcome their problem in a treatment centre, only to return to the same ‘sick’ environment in which their problem developed? 


Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples must work together to create safe healing environments for all. We intend to enhance understanding of Indigenous healing across wider society, including in education, health, social care and criminal justice settings, and create advocacy campaigns to catalyse grassroots activity and create change at a government level. 

12. Create networks of hope and healing - and create historical (or intergenerational) healing
By spreading healing messages in innovative ways and harnessing the considerable latent energy that exists at grassroots levels, Sharing Culture will create a ripple effect of hope and healing. Eventually, healing will become contagious, as has happened with other social movements. 



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<![CDATA['The Value of Deep Listening - The Aboriginal Gift to the Nation' by Judy Atkinson, TEDx Sydney, 2017]]>Wed, 18 Apr 2018 01:37:21 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/the-value-of-deep-listening-the-aboriginal-gift-to-the-nation-by-judy-atkinson-tedx-sydney-2017Well, I am back blogging after a long holiday! My apologies for the delay in returning, but I've been busy writing a book. More of that in a later blog. 

​I thought the most fitting first blog of my return should be one that focuses on the remarkable lady whose work inspired me into setting up Sharing Culture... Judy Atkinson. Here she is giving a moving presentation at the TEDx meeting in Sydney last year. Please enjoy.
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<![CDATA['The Incredible Legacy of Susan La Flesche, the First Native American to Earn a Medical Degree' by Carson Vaughan]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 23:59:33 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/the-incredible-legacy-of-susan-la-flesche-the-first-native-american-to-earn-a-medical-degree-by-carson-vaughan
Found this fascinating article on the Smithsonian website. The picture shows Susan, far left, with her husband (seated with puppy) at their Bancroft, Nebraska, home. (Courtesy of the Hampton University Archives) This is a wonderful story.

With few rights as a woman and as an Indian, the pioneering doctor provided valuable health care and resources to her Omaha community.

When 21-year-old Susan La Flesche first stepped off the train in Philadelphia in early October 1886, nearly 1,300 miles from her Missouri River homeland, she’d already far surpassed the country’s wildest expectations for a member of the so-called “vanishing race.”

Born during the Omaha’s summer buffalo hunt in June 1865 in the northeast corner of the remote Nebraska Territory, La Flesche graduated second in her class from the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, now Hampton University. She was fluent in English and her native tongue, could speak French and Otoe, too. She quoted scripture and Shakespeare, spent her free time learning to paint and play the piano. She was driven by her father’s warning to his young daughters: “Do you always want to be simply called those Indians or do you want to go to school and be somebody in the world?”


The wind-whipped plains of her homeland behind her once again, she arrived in Philadelphia exhausted from the journey, months of financial worry, logistical concerns, and of course, by the looming shadow of the mountain now before her: medical school. Within days, she would attend her first classes at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, a world apart from the powwows, buffalo hunts and tipis of her childhood.

Standing at the vanguard of medical education, the WMCP was the first medical school in the country established for women. If she graduated, La Flesche would become the country’s first Native American doctor. But first, she would need to break into a scientific community heavily skewed by sexist Victorian ideals, through a zeitgeist determined to undercut the ambitions of the minority.

“We who are educated have to be pioneers of Indian civilization,” she told the East Coast crowd during her Hampton graduation speech. “The white people have reached a high standard of civilization, but how many years has it taken them? We are only beginning; so do not try to put us down, but help us to climb higher. Give us a chance.”

Three years later, La Flesche became a doctor. She graduated as valedictorian of her class and could suture wounds, deliver babies and treat tuberculosis. But as a woman, she could not vote—and as an Indian, she could not call herself a citizen under American law.

**********

In 1837, following a trip to Washington on the government’s dime, Chief Big Elk returned to the Omaha people with a warning. “There is a coming flood which will soon reach us, and I advise you to prepare for it,” he told them. In the bustling streets of the nation’s capital, he’d seen the future of civilization, a universe at odds with the Omaha’s traditional ways. To survive, Big Elk said, they must adapt. Before his death in 1853, he chose a man with a similar vision to succeed him as chief of the Omaha Tribe - a man of French and Indian descent named Joseph La Flesche, Susan’s father.

“Decade after decade, [Joseph] La Flesche struggled to keep threading an elusive bicultural needle, one that he believed would ensure the success of his children, the survival of his people,” writes Joe Starita, whose biography of La Flesche, A Warrior of the Peoplewas released last year.

Joseph’s bold push for assimilation - “It is either civilization or extermination,” he often said - wasn’t readily adopted by the whole tribe.

Soon the Omaha splintered between the “Young Men’s Party,” open to the incorporation of white customs, and the “Chief’s Party,” a group loyal to traditional medicine men who wouldn’t budge. When the Young Men’s Party started building log cabins rather than teepees, laying out roads and farming individual parcels, the conservatives nicknamed the north side of the reservation “The Village of the Make-Believe White Men.” It was here, in a log cabin shared by her three older sisters, that Susan grew up learning to walk a tightrope between her heritage and her future.


“These were choices made to venture into the new world that confronted Omahas,” says John Wunder, professor emeritus of history and journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “The La Flesche family was adept at learning and adopting languages, religions, and cultures. They never forgot their Omaha culture; they, we might say, enriched it with greater knowledge of their new neighbors.”

It was here, in the Village of the Make-Believe White Men, that La Flesche first met a Harvard anthropologist named Alice Cunningham Fletcher, a women’s rights advocate who would shepherd her to the East and up the long, often prejudiced ladder of formal education.

And it was here, in the Village of the Make-Believe White Men, that a young Susan La Flesche, just 8 years old, stayed at the bedside of an elderly woman in agonizing pain, waiting for the white agency doctor to arrive.

Four times, a messenger was sent. Four times, the doctor said he’d be there soon. Not long before sunrise, the woman died. The doctor never came. The episode would haunt La Flesche for years to come, but it would steel her, too. “It was only an Indian,” she would later recall, “and it [did] not matter.”


**********

None of the challenges of her education could fully prepare La Flesche for what she encountered upon her return to the reservation as physician for the Omaha Agency, which was operated by the Office of Indian Affairs. Soon after she opened the doors to her new office in the government boarding school, the tribe began to file in. Many of them were sick with tuberculosis or cholera, others simply looking for a clean place to rest. She became their doctor, but in many ways their lawyer, accountant, priest and political liaison. So many of the sick insisted on Dr. Susan, as they called her, that her white counterpart suddenly quit, making her the only physician on a reservation stretching nearly 1,350 square miles.

She dreamed of one day building a hospital for her tribe. But for now, she made house calls on foot, walking miles through wind and snow, on horseback and later in her buggy, traveling for hours to reach a single patient. But even after risking her own life to reach a distant patient, she would often encounter Omahas who rejected her diagnosis and questioned everything she’d learned in a school so far away.

Over the next quarter-century, La Flesche fought a daily battle with the ills of her people. She led temperance campaigns on the reservation, remembering a childhood when white whiskey peddlers didn’t loiter around the reservation, clothing wasn’t pawned and land wasn’t sold for more drink. Eventually she did marry and have children. But the whiskey followed her home. Despite her tireless efforts to wean her people away from alcohol, her own husband slipped in, eventually dying from tuberculosis amplified by his habit.

But she kept fighting. She opened a private practice in nearby Bancroft, Nebraska, treating whites and Indians alike. She persuaded the Office of Indian Affairs to ban liquor sales in towns formed within the reservation boundaries. She advocated proper hygiene and the use of screen doors to keep out disease carrying flies, waged unpopular campaigns against communal drinking cups and the mescal used in new religious ceremonies. And before she died in September 1915, she solicited enough donations to build the hospital of her dreams in the reservation town of Walthill, Nebraska, the first modern hospital in Thurston County.

**********

And yet, unlike so many male chiefs and warriors, Susan La Flesche was virtually unknown beyond the Omaha Reservation until earlier this year, when she became the subject of Starita’s book and a PBS documentary titled “Medicine Woman.”

“Why did they say we were a vanishing race? Why did they say we were the forgotten people? I don’t know,” says Wehnona Stabler, a member of the Omaha and CEO of the Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center in Macy, Nebraska. “Growing up, my father used to say to all of us kids, ‘If you see somebody doing something, you know you can do it, too.’ I saw what Susan was able to do, and it encouraged me when I thought I was tired of all this, or I didn’t want to be in school, or I missed my family.”

The Omaha tribe still faces numerous health care challenges on the reservation. In recent years, charges of tribal corruption and poor patient care by the federal Indian Health Service has dogged the Winnebago Hospital, which today serves both the Omaha and Winnebago tribes. The hospital of La Flesche’s dreams closed in the 1940s - it’s now a small museum -  marooning Walthill residents halfway between the 13-bed hospital seven miles north, and the Carl T. Curtis clinic nine miles east, to say nothing of those living even further west on a reservation where transportation is hardly a given. Alcoholism still plagues the tribe, alongside amphetamines, suicide and more.

But more access to health care is on the way, Stabler says, and La Flesche “would be very proud of what we’re doing right now.” Last summer, the Omaha Tribe broke ground on both an $8.3 million expansion of the Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center in Macy, and a new clinic in Walthill.
“Now people are putting her story out, and that’s what I want. Maybe it’s going to spark another young native woman. You see her do it, you know you can do it, too.""

​Yes, truly a wonderful story. 
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<![CDATA[Canada's Dark Secret]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 00:15:20 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/canadas-dark-secret
Found this important film on the Top Documentary Films website. Well worth a watch. I've shortened the paragraphs from the original text. [NB. There is an advert before the film] 

"It's an ominous history that dates back well over a century ago. It's a legacy that shames present-day residents of Canada, and its wounds have lingered over several generations.

The country's Indigenous populations, much of which were of Indian descent, were forced from their homes at an early age, taken to a series of residential schools, and assimilated into "civilized" society through strict discipline and oftentimes abusive practices. 

Canada's Dark Secret lifts the veil on this horrendous system of indoctrination, and chronicles several of its tormented victims.

These policies were put into place by the Canadian government as an extension of the Indian Act of 1876, a piece of legislation which allowed institutions great leeway in their attempts to rid Indigenous people of their cultural identity. Residential schools were established to facilitate the process.

If parents refused to relinquish custody of their children to these government-sanctioned institutions, they faced harsh penalties and prison sentences. Meanwhile, the punishment inflicted upon the children was even more grotesque once they arrived at their new homes.

The film imparts its harrowing tale through intensely personal testimonies. As she steps through the now barren and corroded classrooms of the Mohawk Residential School, survivor Roberta Hill recalls the horrors she experienced when she first arrived there at the age of six.

Another survivor speaks of her best friend and classmate, who she suspects was beaten to death and buried among six thousand other children who are thought to have perished on school grounds.

Bud Whiteye shares the story of how he was kidnapped from his reservation as a youngster, and he revisits the campus boiler room where he was sodomized by a member of the school staff. For these victims and others just like them, each barren school building is truly a haunted house.

The last of these schools closed in the late 90's, but their hideous imprint remains. A survivor's grief never ends, nor does the guilt of those who found themselves unwitting accomplices to these horrors. 

Canada's Dark Secret is a horror film in the truest sense. But by shining light on a history long-shrouded by time, it achieves a measure of catharsis for all involved.

Directed by
Rania El Rafael
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<![CDATA[Revel: A Story of Art, Social Justice and Resilience ]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:28:33 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/revel-a-story-of-art-social-justice-and-resiliencePicture
As some of you will know, I've been busy over the past year working on a new project focused on the Aboriginal artist Revel Cooper. My close colleague Mike Liu and I have been deeply involved in research and development of this exciting project.

I've just loaded six Revel project web pages onto our Sharing Culture website so please check out what we've been up to. Here's a brief summary of the project:

"Surviving the death of his mother at age five, the harsh conditions of a 1940s government native settlement, a murder trial and years of incarceration, Revel Cooper became a self-determined man who spoke for the rights of Aboriginal people. He played a large part in developing one of Australia's first Indigenous art movements that still thrives today. Revel died in 1983 in tragic circumstances, and was buried thousands of kilometres from his homeland and family."

'Revel' was originally planned to be a feature length documentary about various aspects of Revel Cooper's life, which would be directed by Mike Liu. It would focus on Aboriginal art, social justice and resilience to adversity, as well as the search for family that had been fragmented for generations. 

However, as time has gone by the project has grown and grown. It has now developed into a slate of projects, 
one of which remains the original documentary. I've recently been focused on Revel's early life, including his time at Carrolup and his murder trial.

I'm
researching for a documentary film, as well as  developing an educational multimedia iBook. It all keeps me very busy. It's been a real pleasure and a great experience working with Mike. He is in one of those talented, passionate people with a 'Big Heart'. He is an amazing researcher and we are uncovering all sorts of fascinating stuff about Revel. 

Please check our six project webpages, which you can move along from link to link. You'll learn about some of the fascinating stories that our films and related projects will touch upon, as well as different elements of our initiative. You can also meet some of the team who have helped us along our journey.

​One very special person has been Cathy Coomer, a niece of Revel Cooper. I've learnt so much from Cathy.

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<![CDATA[With a new film, Ivan Sen wants to draw attention to Indigenous youth suicide]]>Thu, 16 Feb 2017 02:06:22 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/with-a-new-film-ivan-sen-wants-to-draw-attention-to-indigenous-youth-suicide
Here is an interesting recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald. I am sure that Ivan's new film will be essential viewing and make some important statements. Please check it out when it is released.
The tragedy of youth suicide in Aboriginal communities has inspired a new film from Ivan Sen.

The acclaimed Indigenous director of Beneath CloudsMystery Roadand Goldstone has gone back to his home town of Tamworth in northern NSW to shoot This Winter.

What sounds like a raw, moving but hopeful drama, often shot by Sen as a one-man film crew, centres on an Indigenous mother dealing with a son arriving back from jail after losing another son to suicide.

"It's a big exploration of the cutting of what I call love lines within Indigenous families," he says. "It's the disconnection of family love and culture at the same time for young people."

Having written, directed, produced and shot This Winter, Sen was editing it before heading to the Toronto International Film Festival where the outback drama Goldstone competed in the Platform section for "artistically stimulating and thought-provoking" films.

In Mystery Road and Goldstone, both of which have opened the Sydney Film Festival, Sen confronted simmering tensions between black and white Australia in stories centring on an Indigenous detective played by Aaron Pedersen. 

With his new film, which stars Ursula Yovich from Australia and The Code, and newcomer Brandon Waters, he wants to draw attention to what he calls an epidemic of suicide among young Indigenous people.

"Because it's not reported in the media, it's something that I don't think we have a really good idea about," Sen says. "My cousins have told me numerous stories about how they've tried to help young people stop killing themselves."

"But down the track, these children they've saved have gone and killed themselves, feeling that there's no support in their town."

Along the lines of his raw 2011 drama Toomelah, also shot in northern NSW, Sen shot fast and low-key with a first-time actor - 20-year-old Waters, whose connection to the story included losing an uncle to suicide. 


The young Indigenous actor has proven to be a natural on screen.

"I was casting when I walked into my cousin's house," Sen says. "His son just walked in, shook my hand and said, 'Hello cuz'.

"He just grabbed me in that second, so I asked him if he was interested and he was totally keen.

"And even with all the actors I've worked with, I've never felt such a confidence in front of the camera. It's a hard thing to describe, but he's got a magic that I've never had before in front of the camera."

Working on a "sub-atomic" budget, Sen had help filming from young Indigenous locals, some of whom could quote lines from his films.

"I had all these kids on the streets going, 'I want to be in the movie'," he says. "One guy grabbed the microphone to help. The next day he was there to do it again."


The film was largely shot in a house near the railway tracks in Tamworth.


"On the days we went below the tracks, we had ice addicts all over the place when we were filming," Sen says.


After feeling uncomfortable during previous trips back to his home town, Sen found filming there cathartic.


"I think I've worked through that and reclaimed it as part of my identity," he says. "It was a chance for me to connect to the place where I grew up."


Once This Winter is finished, Sen will screen the film for international festivals but sees a key audience at home.


​"It's becoming more important for me to make films for Indigenous communities to see themselves on screen," he says.
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<![CDATA['Royal Commission Revelations Make Tough Reading for Stolen Generations' by Bringing Them Home Committee (WA)]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 23:30:08 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/royal-commission-revelations-make-tough-reading-for-stolen-generations-by-bringing-them-home-committee-waPicture

I had an interesting meeting with Jim Morrison, Alan Carter and Keith Bodman of the Bringing Them Home Committee WA yesterday. The meeting took places in the offices of the former Chief Protector Mr A O Neville. We were touching base to find out what each was doing. I have blogged earlier about the Committee's plans to develop cultural healing centres in the old missions.

Here is a recent media release from the Bringing Them Home Committee WA:


'The recent revelations about the appallingly high level of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church makes tough reading for the Stolen Generations survivors as they continue with their struggle to get action from Governments on the 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report that was produced 20 years ago.

“Whilst the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been welcomed by many in the Aboriginal Community, for others there is a great sense of frustration and anger that many of the issues being examined are similar to those raised during the hearings that were undertaken by the Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the Removal of Aboriginal Children”, according to Jim Morrison, Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“The Report of that Inquiry, which became known as the Bringing Them Home Report, was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on the 26th May 1997 and so this year we will be commemorating the twentieth anniversary of that significant report.”

“The Bringing Them Home Report included reference to the high level of sexual abuse in institutional care, including the staggering fact that “…stories of sexual exploitation and abuse were common in evidence to the Inquiry…and that at least one in every six (17.5%) of witnesses to the Inquiry reported such victimisation”(1).”

“Sadly, only a handful of the 54 recommendations contained in that report have been implemented by Commonwealth or State Governments over the past twenty years. The ongoing pain and trauma suffered by those abused children, and subsequently by their families as a result of intergenerational trauma, has not been acknowledged and reparation and culturally appropriate healing has not been made available to those people.”

“There will be significant events around Australia on 26th May 2017 to commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report. In Perth, we will be calling for action from Commonwealth and State Governments to implement the remaining recommendations and hope that the timing of these recent revelation in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will prompt a more sympathetic response!’ Mr Morrison concluded.

For further comment: Jim Morrison Mobile: 0408 917 133
  1. Bringing Them Home Report (1997) page 194' 

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<![CDATA[Introducing Lance Chadd, Tjyllyungoo]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:45 GMThttp://sharingculture.info/davids-blog/introducing-lance-chadd-tjyllyungoo
Here's a beautiful short film about a very talented Noongar artist. I first came across Lance's work when I was looking for a piece of art to give my daughter Annalie and her fiancee Max as an engagement present. Fell in love with a beautiful Tjyllungoo watercolour, which now sits in Annalie and Max's house in Manchester, UK. 

On the back of the art, Lance had written that he was inspired by Revel Cooper. Coincidentally, I am currently working on a book and film about Revel Cooper's fascinating life. Lance is related to another Carrolup artist, Reynold Hart. I love Reynold and Revel's artworks. 

Here is the YouTube intro to this film:


Contemporary West Australian artist Lance Chadd who works under his traditional Aboriginal name Tjyllyungoo, was commissioned by Edith Cowan University in 2015 to produce a painting for ECU's new building Ngoolark, situated on its Joondalup campus.

This film captures the artist at work on his painting 'Ngoolark' based on the black cockatoo which bears this Nyoongar name, and which features in the dramatic design and architecture of the new building in which the painting will be housed. The film also briefly touches on the artist's diverse and spiritually-rich oeuvre of work and his deep connection with the land and his Aboriginal heritage.
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