"After so many years of top-down policymaking and funding programs that have not achieved the changes intended on the ground, they are crying out to be heard and to be involved in healing their communities and giving young Indigenous people their inheritance of cultural knowledge, identity and strength…” Professor Pat Dudgeon
“Therefore I recommend this important collection of Elder’s voices to all who wish to understand what is happening in Indigenous communities today and who wish to work in partnership with our people to build a better future.” Professor Pat Dudgeon
“… This solution based Report holds the experience of Elders from communities from Cape York, to the Kimberley on what needs to be done to address this crisis. These are the words of our Elders who have witnessed firsthand the grief and despair that youth suicide inflicts on families and communities.
What makes this Report different from other mainstream investigations into these issues is that the solutions come from the people. They have not been watered down, marginalised or interpreted by outside ‘experts’ or governments.
What is most striking is that from one side of the country to the other, the speakers in this project share the same views about what is causing the rise in youth suicide and the solutions needed to halt the loss of young lives…”
“… The speakers in this Report are calling for urgent understanding and action to improve Indigenous wellbeing in Australia. What we know from decades of experience is that bringing in outsiders does not lead to long term solutions - these can only come from within communities, who need to own and control the healing process.
Themes such as community empowerment, the strengthening of cultural identity, maintenance of Indigenous languages, culturally appropriate employment, bi-cultural education and returning to country; these human rights are what our people have been advocating for decades and for good reason...” Mick Gooda
“… This brings me to the role of Indigenous Elders, and the importance of this publication by the Culture Is Life campaign.
For Indigenous people, cultural identity is the foundation of who we are. Despite years of assimilationist policy, and the loss of so many of our customs and languages, Aboriginal people have demonstrated extraordinary cultural resilience.
In my time, I have been privileged to witness what I see as a cultural renaissance of Aboriginal Australia.
Culture has become life-giving medicine for our people, closing the wounds of the past and standing us strong to face the future.
Our Elders have been fundamental in this process. They are our wisdom keepers. They have seen the changes, so dramatically incurred in their lifetime. They are the vital bridge between the modern world and Aboriginal culture. They are the leaders of our communities, to whom we continue to rely on for guidance and counseling.
There is no more urgent time to sit down and listen to our Elders than now. For any solution to be effective, their guidance must form the foundation of how Governments and service providers work with Aboriginal people.
After so many years of top-down policymaking and funding programs that have not achieved the changes intended on the ground, they are crying out to be heard and to be involved in healing their communities and giving young Indigenous people their inheritance of cultural knowledge, identity and strength...” Professor Pat Dudgeon
> Elders' Views, Part 1