Khesed News #74 August 2007

Inside:
National Solemn Assembly Prayer Issues
NATSICA Summit on Preventing Indigenous Child Abuse
Healing the Land Australian Consultation
Profile: Phil Moncrieff

NATSICA SUMMIT on preventing Indigenous child abuse

Alice Springs  18 & 19 July 2007

A summit on preventing Indigenous child abuse convened by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Alliance (NATSICA) has detailed alternatives to the Federal Government’s emergency response plan.


 

The summit was held on the 18-19th July and attended by Indigenous members of the nation’s major Christian denominations. People worked together on innovative and alternative programs grounded in traditional Aboriginal and Islander spirituality and knowledge. 

The summit affirmed the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report and its recommendations, but disagrees strongly with the current approach undertaken by the Federal Government.

This is an edited version of the NATSICA statement. A full version is available from Khesed.

Overarching Policy – Indigenous Christian Spirituality     

Indigenous Christian spirituality emanates from its biblical and cultural understanding and interpreting its biblical understanding from its own worldview.

We call for alternative approaches grounded in this Indigenous Christian spirituality… - a very powerful force for empowering Aboriginal people to take responsibility in... addressing the dysfunctional nature of some communities.

Indigenous Spirituality is a holistic view of life. It is interconnected, not separated like the western thinking. Laws for living, cultural and social understandings of life, indigenous biblical understandings all permeate Indigenous spirituality. 

 This holistic approach is what we are advocating in relation to alternative responses to child sexual abuse. Underpinning these alternatives, Indigenous people must be part of resolving what is essentially their problem, for the outcomes to be sustainable and effective.

This requires a two pronged approach – economic development and rehabilitation.

Economic development is the process of developing… a sense of purpose and believe that one’s gifts are valuable to society…    work skills.

Rehabilitation: At some stage offenders will seek to re-enter the communities from which they were removed. Appropriate rehabilitation intervention… embodies indigenous spiritual healing…

There are broader issues of material poverty and overcrowded housing that play their part also. 

Indigenous Christian spirituality … programs grounded in Indigenous Christian spirituality, would, we believe, lead to building people up, empowering them and give them a strong intrinsic sense of self worth and strong understanding of the devastating and destructive negative impact of their actions on others, especially children.   Developing their spirituality gives a conscience and a sense of self worth.   It also serves to give them a stronger understanding of the human worth of others. 

The Government needs to engage Indigenous leaders who have a demonstrated capability in this area of concern especially in the implementation of long-sighted programs that affirm people, lifts their spirits and inspire them to change the future direction of their communities.

… responding to what is impacting upon people’s spirits… adequate long-term interventions working with people in overcoming deep rooted community problems such as alcohol supply, overcrowding and inadequate housing, the high cost of nutritious foods, the loss of dignity and self worth and access to quality education as just some pressing examples.

Engaging in community development with the Indigenous people in the 73 NT communities is therefore essential. Community development includes building the capacity of communities to ensure the appropriate level of self-government and self-determination.  This requires a commitment to improving the lives of the most underprivileged in communities.  This is closely linked with the idea of economic development – that individuals should have equal opportunity to progress onto a meaningful economic life, that is both fulfilling in a spiritual and economic sense. This is underpinned by a long-term approach of transforming people’s lives and community life. People of goodwill are required that exercise their gifts, insights and ideas, but that work mutually with the community members gifts, insights, ideas and aspiration.

We believe that child abuse can be stopped with the right measures. While intervention from the Government is welcome, it is just one part of a complex solution that needs to be under girded by an Indigenous spiritual element.

Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs

NATSICA endorses the Federal Government’s policy on Alcohol and other Drugs control… a first step – but a range of other measures is required.

·      Indigenous Christian spirituality is life changing. It is… about identity and our place in the world…. [It gives] a greater sense of purpose for themselves, families and communities.

Ultimately we are interested in empowering people to have greater control over their circumstances, and ability to make positive life choices.

·      There is a need for intervention with people abusing alcohol and drugs… This requires the provision of viable and attractive alternatives to alcohol and drug consumption.  NATSICA advocates the use of Indigenous Christian spirituality within communities to provide diversionary activities. This could involve Indigenous Christian faith meetings, culturally based recreational activities, relational team building sporting activities, and provision of practical vocational education.

·      Initiatives that encourage Communications skills. People need to be able to communicate what they are feeling or thinking, so as to be able to share with others and breakdown isolation within their circumstances and life. Drug and alcohol abuse is usually taken up when people have other personal issues or preoccupations. Skills such as communication are needed for people to adequately share and deal with issues.

·      … programs that enable men to rediscover their role in relation to family and community responsibilities;

·      … building of capacity within indigenous people and the removal of blockages to the management of their communities.

·      Reduce availability of alcohol. This requires a reduction in the number of liquor outlets, the opening hours of outlets and liquor availability in general. Action must also focus on the illegal trade in alcohol.  There needs to be more severe penalties for apprehended sly grog runners and vendors in breach of the law, especially where communities have elected to be dry.

Suggested policy statement on welfare

NATSICA acknowledges welfare is a contributing factor to the cycle of poverty in communities.

·      NATSICA cannot support the proposal that Centerlink will decide who will and will not receive welfare without knowing what criteria will be applied in making these value judgments.  However, if this proposal is enacted, it should be applied equally to all Australians in receipt of welfare.  The selective application of this policy is discriminatory;

·      There is a need to empower individuals in receipt of welfare in the area of money management.  NATSICA can participate in the development and implementation of money management programs in partnership with other agencies.

Suggested Policy Statement for School Attendance

NATSICA firmly believe that the Federal Government’s approach to link the receipt of Federal Government’s income support and family assistance to school attendance is wrong.  This is a negative approach.  NATSICA advocate a positive approach of empowerment and encouragement.  This includes:

·      promotion of cultural, social and educational values in school attendance.  This includes allowing other family members, in particular grandmothers, mothers and elders, to participate in their own education and that of their family members (in accordance with Aboriginal family structures).  There is also a need to promote cross cultural education (education of Indigenous people about non-indigenous ways and the education of non-Indigenous people about indigenous ways);

·      ensuring health and nutrition issues are properly dealt with, including monitoring hearing and eyesight of school children and;

·      ensuring longer teacher tenure and adequate facilities are available.  This should include cultural preparation as well as the training of Indigenous teachers and support staff.

Acquisition of Townships and Town Camps

NATSICA strongly object to the link that the Federal Government has made between the protection of children from abuse and the acquisition of leases of townships.  Removing permits from major communities could provide easy access for the entry of alcohol, drugs, pornography and further mental and physical harm to children.  The permit system provided a mechanism to allow members of the community to enquire what someone was doing. If they suspected somebody of trafficking banned substances of items, they could ask them to leave instead of waiting for a very long period of time for police to obtain evidence, which is often extremely hard to do.

NATSICA advocate that:  

·      under no circumstance should the tenure of Aboriginal land be changed;

·      there is no link between child abuse and acquisition of leases of townships and;

it is an immoral act to use Indigenous money to compensate Indigenous people for the proposed acquisition of their land.

 

NB  New policies introduced in July this year are causing total chaos and uncertainty, with funding changed so that planning is on a week to week basis instead of annual.

 

 

Transformations:

Healing the Land 
Australian Indigenous ConsultationToowoomba, 22-24 August 2007

Toowoomba City Church, sponsors of Transformation Linc network in the Asia Pacific region, are hosting a national Healing the Land consultation to bring together 15-20 leaders who have a passion to encourage and carry out the Healing the Land process in Australian Aboriginal communities.

Some of the Melanesian experience of Healing the Land will be shared, and prayer and discussion over the possibility of engaging in the process and developing protocols for Australia will be a primary focus.

Rodney Rivers, Ps Tim Edwards and John Blacket will be among those involved.

 

Profile:  Phil Moncrieff & the Southern Cross band

Phil Moncrieff is a Christian Yamatji singer-songwriter, who lives in Perth. He grew up in his mother’s country, the Ningaloo coast, as well as the upper Gascoyne, his father’s country.

His music tells of his ‘hope for people of the earth to seek enrichment of Jesus Christ into their spiritual lives to promote peace and harmony amongst humankind.’

He performs solo acoustic, or with his band, Phil Moncrieff & the Southern Cross Band. Phil’s music has been described in the music industry as ‘original and sounding different’. His work as an indigenous musician has taken him to perform with Yothu Yindi, Christine Anu, Archie Roach, Warumpi Band, Coloured Stone, Kev Carmody, and at Arts 
Festivals, the 1966 Survival Concert, and on radio. His albums have had considerable airtime on Triple J, 92.9FM, 6NR and RTRFM.

Phil is also involved in outreach ministry to street people at Perth City Church of Christ.

You can contact Phil on mobile   0408 084.026 or email at       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

News & Coming Events from all around

 

Sovereign Tribal Parliament of Whadjuk      July 2007

A group of seven Noongar families in Perth who have established bloodline heritage ties to the original people of Perth have now formally established their tribal parliament.

Each bloodline extended family are nominating four members from their group to serve on the parliament.

They will enter into discussions with the government over how they can work together with the government and their people.

They want to see a change from the ingrained ‘death wish’ colonial government policies to ‘life wish’ administration and development.


In 1986 the UK Government passed the Australia Act, which brought Australia from being a colony of England, to being a sovereign nation. This means that traditional Aboriginal government can be officially 
re-established.

 

Leonora Community Efforts      June 2007

- James Houston

The aboriginal community of Leonora in the Goldfields of WA is making big steps towards sustainable social well being, addressing the many issues they face in their community via spiritual and innovative practices. 23 of the community traveled by bus from Western Australia to attend “Open heaven 2007” in Bendigo and Melbourne in July.

The community has devised a three-stage plan to move towards sustainable living practices. Having ownership and responsibility of the process will enable the people to become empowered. To move away from welfare reliance is a practice the community desires. If people are able to contribute financially to the implementation of community programs that will facilitate the process this would be openly received with gratitude. It is heartening to people to know that their money is working at a grass roots level to bring about social change.

 

For more information about The Well Being Exchange Project, contact James Houston, email   <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>    mobile 0428 376 255. James is a Christian volunteer social work consultant.

 

7th World Christian Gathering 0n Indigenous People

              Jerusalem, Israel      
                      9-18 September 2008      

Start saving now to be there!
Contact Khesed for Details

 


www.wilcanniariveroflife.com

 

Tweed Valley Christian College

Ps Willy Dumas and Tweed Valley Community Church commenced classes on 30 July 2007, with a 6 month program to train and release young indigenous Christians into mature ministry. It is a Certificate III in Theology. A Certificate IV course started in February 2008, along with the second intake of students in Cert III.

At the beginning of April, Ps Tim Edwards taught a week of the course on The Fear of God, followed by John & June Blacket teaching on Spiritual Warfare.

Praise God for people who have responded with prayer and financial support to make this possible. Additional financial support is needed and can be sent to: 

Tweed Valley Community Church, 
PO Box 6369 South Tweed Heads NSW 2486        Phone/Fax     07 5524 7856