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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Aboriginal people urged to lose culture

Larrakia Nation teamed up with the Universities of Sydney and Tasmania to investigate race relations in the Top End.

Contrary to what many people think, the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in Australia's eastern states and not in remote desert regions. The majority are in work and live successful lives.
More than 66 per cent live in NSW, Queensland and Victoria while Western Australia and the Northern Territory contribute only 24 per cent of the Aboriginal population.  Queensland is expected to overtake NSW for the title of most Aboriginal residents.  South Australis has 5.6 per cent, Tasmania 3.6 per cent and the ACT 0.9 per cent.
But it's the people in Alice Springs and Darwin who continue to get the bad publicity.
A three year study was done with 500 Aboriginal people living in Darwin ranging from the long-grassers (homeless people living rough) to university students, resulting in a report called Telling It Like It Is.
Larrakia Nation, which represents the Larrakia  people of Darwin teamed up with the Universities of Sydney and Tasmania to investigate race relations in the Top End.
If you've ever been to Darwin you will know they are not good.
"I don't drive, so I use public transport and I see bus drivers going past because there are black fellas standing at the bus stop" Larrakia and West Arnhem woman Kathy Williams Browne said.  "Often it's a mother and her kids and they just drive straight past."
The bottom line of the report suggests something we knew but weren't game to say out loud - Aboriginal people are facing enormous pressure to lose their traditional culture in order to lead a successful life in Australia.
"There was a strong emphasis on the materialism and individualism of white Australian culture and what that costs people" former head researcher at Larrakia Nation Penny Taylor said.
"Respondents considered a lot of white Australians to be quite lonely and isolated, they say they have beautiful houses and nice cars but that they're carrying a lot of stress to be able to have those things in their life, and the trade-off is sometimes supportive relationships with family and friends."
Were truer words ever spoken?
Research suggests experiences of marginalisation, stigma, stereotyping and racism lead to physical and mental health problems, poor educational outcomes, self esteem problems, and an inability for individuals to reach their potential.