Monday, 5 May 2014

#IHMayDay Positive male perspectives/Indigenous academics: Social work student Dameyon Bonson, Broome

The Croakey Blog by Melissa Sweet @croakeyblog

Declaring a Twitter day of action – and listening – for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

A full program of Indigenous health discussions coming your way for #IHMayDay

#IHMayDay: 1 day of Twitter action, 15+ hours on Indigenous health issues, 26m impressions, trending No 1 nationally

8pm-10pm AEST: Positive male perspectives

Social work student Dameyon Bonson, from Broome, WA
Talking about the portrayal of Indigenous men in health/human service provision promotional materials, and the lack of positive/empowering imagery. Also, how “behavioural change” programs contribute to negative stereotype and assumptions, and how promoting programs as “behavioural enhancement” is more strengths based.  He will also talk about the limited number of academics teaching social work and the Indigenous LGBQTI community.

*** Social work tweets were informed from Indigenous Social Workers nationally. 

#IHMayday G’day I’m Dameyon Bonson. I’d begin by acknowledging all traditional owners across the many nations.

#IHMayday & pay my respects to all elders & ancestors. Shout out to @croakeyblog  @LynoreGeia @IndigenousX

#IHMayday I am of the Mangarai people and those of the Western Islands of the Torres Strait. I am also of Caucasian heritage. I am proud.

#IHMayday First up I’ll be tweeting about Indigenous Social Work, followed by Indigenous males and then often forgotten (cont’d)

#IHMayday Indigenous LGBQTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy community. RT’s are encouraged. Muting is a last resort :)
#IHMayday All Indigenous people born prior to 1967 were classed under the plant and animal act (flora and fauna)

#IHMayday The 1967 referendum Indigenous peoples were voted to be included as citizens of Australia, not plants or animals.

#IHMayday By the early 1970s there were only 18 Aborigines known to be undertaking tertiary studies throughout the country (Bin-Sallik 2003)

#IHMayday Uni’s  are “White colonial environments that was devoid of any sort of cultural safety provisions for Indigenous Australians”(Bin-Sallik 2003)

#IHMayday Williams (1999, p. 213) defines cultural safety as an environment that is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe, as well as (cont’d)

#IHMayday physically safe for people; where there is no assault challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are & (cont’d)

#IHMayday what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together.

#IHMayday "The training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals - doctors,nurses,psychologist,social workers (cont’d)

#IHMayday has landed in the hands of universities who are still mainly governed & taught by non-Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. 

#IHMayday It makes it difficult for our people to go through this environment to get qualified to work with our people appropriately.

#IHMayday We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in governance leadership, senior staff and lecturers within (cont’d)

#IHMayday universities who will operate in ways cultural appropriate to make it culturally safe for our people to go through (cont’d)

#IHMayday university to be qualified to work in health.

#IHMayday The sad reality is that despite all the rhetoric & fancy rec plans etc, we are still excluded from employment in universities. 

#IHMayday The latest figures show that the number of Indigenous academics employed in universities is falling and (cont’d)

#IHMayday most of the jobs are short term contracts or low ranking jobs that do not make use of our qualifications.

#IHMayday We are told that “education is the answer”, but that is a bit of spin, when there are no jobs.

#IHMayday Its as though it is impossible for them to consider that we are capable of more than being liaison staff.

#IHMayday In terms of tertiary institutions providing specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health concepts within their (cont’d)

#IHMayday course structures, it is not believed they are providing students of any degree enough learning, information, concepts or (cont’d)

#IHMayday paradigms that showcase culturally specific models of health engagement.

#IHMayday need more of our mob in higher positions however; there is also a definite need 4 those people to push our agenda through (cont’d)

#IHMayday that level and that system; and not be demeaned or dissuaded in the pursuant of a completely embedded (cont’d)

#IHMayday Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paradigm, within all course structures.  We continue to reside in an environment (cont’d)

#IHMayday that is deeply embedded within a mainstream perspective of engagement. 

#IHMayday The likelihood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paradigms within the tertiary sector (cont’d)

#IHMayday is piecemeal at best and is added as electives and not integrated into the overall course structures of individual tertiary institutions. 

#IHMayday Until us as indentured Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people have the ongoing will, strength and conviction to walk the talk,

#IHMayday stand alongside our countrymen and battle for the inclusion of our ways of engagement, we will be continuing to (cont'd)

#IHMayday support a tokenistic methodology of engagement. Unless we are strong within ourselves and staunch to the (cont’d)

#IHMayday Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions and law, the likelihood of any change is negligible. 

#IHMayday It is believed we are up against an industry that will pull out all the weapons they have to halt our ways of engagement (cont’d)

#IHMayday into tertiary education, unless of course it is a specific Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander subject. 

#IHMayday there has been movement to integrate our ways into social work, medical, psych, nursing etc but it’s not near enough (cont’d)

#IHMayday The reason we are where we are at this point is because of the fight and the work that many of our older mob have done.

#IHMayday We wouldn’t be where we are without the fight and strength of these people and our forebears. 

#IHMayday We need to implement the same and now. A lot of us who have completed social work degrees have (cont’d)

#IHMayday looked at employment position that contributed to making a difference (cont’d)

 #IHMayday in our place of work and communities we become involve with not much thought given to pursuing academic careers (cont’d)

#IHMayday we are also not encouraged to pursue this career pathway. What is needed is for us is to get into positions or on (cont’d)

#IHMayday committees where we can have input into curriculum development and course structure, I think in some instances students (cont’d)

#IHMayday are in prime  position to generate changes; speaking engagements provides a platform to be constructive and (cont’d)

#IHMayday having a voice to insight possible changes. As Indigenous social workers we need to get into the academic sphere, but (cont’d)

#IHMayday there is fear there are systemic biases that are (cont’d) active in keeping Indigenous social work academics (cont’d)

#IHMayday any Indigenous Australian academics - out of academia, with part time, (cont’d)

#IHMayday lower ranked positions being the norm for those trying to gain full time tenured positions. (cont’d)

#IHMayday At the moment there is far too much tokenism and too few opportunities. (cont’d)

#IHMayday Fancy words and statements are bandied around, but that does not transfer into anything meaningful. (cont’d)

#IHMayday For example, how many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders are employed in full time tenured positions in Australia's (cont’d)

#IHMayday 26 schools of social work? Are any taking affirmative action? (cont’d)
#IHMayday If the very places that educate our countries' professionals can't be inclusive, there leaves little hope for various other employers.

#IHMayday Often ignored is that when an Indigenous Australian gains a degree or post grad qualification, these are in (cont’d)

#IHMayday mainstream education. That is, they are as qualified as any other graduate, but because of the cultural knowledge (cont’d)

#IHMayday our graduates have much more qualifications. This is not being recognised, instead, too often, Indigenous graduates (cont’d)

#IHMayday are being relegated to support roles and are often assumed by colleagues and employers as having less qualifications. (cont’d)

#IHMayday Employment and valueing our knowledge are serious issues that we need to address as a national group.

#IHMayday It is believed that there is sometimes a lack of support for Aboriginal staff who ask to study their Phd even (cont’d)

#IHMayday if it is an area relevant to their employment by some government agencies.  This means that is Aboriginal people (cont’d)

#IHMayday would like to complete further studies they need to do it completely in their own time even people who complete (cont’d)

#IHMayday other degrees are able to have up to six hours a fortnight paid study leave. 

#IHMayday Government agencies should be encourage to be supportive of Aboriginal staff who are completing research (cont’d)

#IHMayday into a relevant area as it is highly likely that this would increase the pool of Aboriginal staff capable of taking on (cont’d)

#IHMayday leadership positions within Universities. Uni's have to be more proactive to recruit Indigenous staff and to value our (cont’d)

#IHMayday qualifications, experiences and cultural knowledge. Unless we are included in governance and lecturing as Social Workers (cont’d)

#IHMayday at universities we are leaving the cultural safety of our students to the mercy of people who have limited or (con’t)

#IHMayday no understanding of our people and cultural ways. We have experienced this lack of cultural safety both as staff members (con’t)

#IHMayday and students at university, especially when you mention any cultural awareness training of staff to be culturally competent (cont’d)

#IHMayday or that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people should be involved in governance meetings. (cont’d)

#IHMayday It is believed there are limited to no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Social Worker lecturers employed at any of the universities. (cont’d)

#IHMayday Even though there is discussion about Indigenous curriculum being included in all health courses many people think (cont’d)

#IHMayday they can just deliver this without including Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people as lecturers in each of the (cont’d)

#IHMayday  specialised professional areas.The discussion of training up Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander (cont’d)

#IHMayday health professionals workforce at universities goes back to the NAHS 1989 Report. This is an ongoing issue for many (cont’d)

#IHMayday trying assist any of our people through any Social Work or other health related courses. Sometimes it is very isolating

 #IHMayday when you are the only black fellow there amongst all white people telling them what they should do to help your mob. (cont’d)

#IHMayday They give you that look.

#IHMayday Dr. Tom Calma was appointed Chancellor of Uni of Canberra in January, the first male Indigenous Chancellor in 164 years and (cont’d)

#IHMayday the second after Dr Pat O'Shane at UNE a decade ago. Dr Calma strongly advocates cultural competence, proactively (cont’d)

#IHMayday engaging our mob on Uni governance councils, initiatives like the HWA & Getting it right SW framework & signing (cont’d)

#IHMayday  on to the Recognise Campaign & Reconciliation Action Plans.

#IHMayday  *Indigenous SW reflection - I look back on my experience when undertaking studies for my degree in 1992 (cont’d)

#IHMayday I noted there were no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people teaching in the SW or community welfare courses (cont’d)

#IHMayday to teach Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students or help to prepare potential non-Aboriginal social work graduates (cont’d)

#IHMayday to work with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Also I questioned if, in some places, Aboriginal & (cont’d)

#IHMayday  Torres Strait Islander people are going to be a high percentage of clients through poverty, housing, racism, etc (cont’d)

#IHMayday then why weren't there a core course on Aboriginal affairs and why are their were not Aboriginal or (cont’d)

#IHMayday Torres Strait Islander people available or involved in the teaching of such a course. It seems not much as changed? (cont’d)

#IHMayday I acknowledge that some of us are associated with and teaching at universities. Nevertheless the point of the discussion is that (cont’d)

#IHMayday  there needs to be more Aboriginal and Torres Strait social workers teaching social work theory and practice (cont’d)

#IHMayday  methods or employed in a senior position within the university. We have the concerns and experience as students (cont’d)

#IHMayday of being isolated, having no leadership or mentors, having to understand and make sense of unfamiliar (cont’d)

#IHMayday theories and method of practices. What we need are solutions. We are starting to get high profile and experience people (cont’d)

#IHMayday at Pro Vice Chancellor, Head of School etc in universities around the country and hopefully there to insight changes. (cont’d)

#IHMayday  I think we need to begin to ask the reason why (cont’d)

#IHMayday Why don't we have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people employed as senior lectures in social work. (cont’d)

#IHMayday What steps or thoughts if any are being processed to employ or engage Aboriginal or (cont’d)

#IHMayday  Torres Strait Islander people; in this instance social work graduates? *End.

#IHMayday  From the Getting It Right Project. 5 social work programs said they had 1 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff member (cont’d)

#IHMayday and 1 program said they had 2. However, the survey did not ask if these staff members were social workers or not. (cont’d)

#IHMayday 23 programs responded to the survey.   There are currently 26 social work programs in the country. (cont’d)

#IHMayday  Many programs have attempted to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers, but generally it is in Academic A (cont’d)

#IHMayday positions and requires the person to have already completed their PhD and have publications and have been successful in (cont’d)

#IHMayday obtaining research grants.  They then wonder why they can not get anyone to take up the position.

#IHMayday  Sometimes they drop the requirements of PhDs, publications and research runs, but the salary at academic A is lower (cont’d)

#IHMayday  than what you can get in the public sector.  As well the requirements upon the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic (cont’d)

#IHMayday is not the same as an non)Indigenous person at the same level. Further to this the lack of support makes it very difficult to stay in (cont’d)

#IHMayday the position if someone is willing to go into it in the first place. We can get lucky & I have a fairly supportive workplace.  (cont’d)

#IHMayday However, it does have quite a lot of limitations and many that the many do not even recognise, let alone acknowledge. (cont’d)

 #IHMayday  When you are the only Indigenous academic in the faculty we have had to fight to not have everything Indigenous dropped (cont’d)

#IHMayday on us and it can take a long time for people to start to back off with the demands for guest lectures, being on advisory panels (cont’d)

#IHMayday for their research and in general just being the token blackfella for everything.  Many have I learn to say no and being (cont’d)

#IHMayday extremely assertive (or some might say aggressive) about it.  

#IHMayday  The lack of Indigenous SW academics is a very real issue as unless we have a place within the academy, we are unlikely to be (cont’d)

#IHMayday able to successfully rid the workplace of racism and tokenism. Even in so called 'respectable' organisations the issue of racism, (cont’d)

#IHMayday tokenism and patronisation are still the norm.

#IHMayday Essential #IndigenousX Social Work Readings “A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work” Lorraine Muller

#IHMayday Essential #IndigenousX Social Work Readings “Indigenous Perspectives: Enriching Scholarship and Practice” Steve Larkin

#IHMayday Essential #IndigenousX Social Work Readings “Anti Racist Practice in Indigenous Education” Stephen Corporal

#IHMayday Essential #IndigenousX Social Work Readings (cont’d)
#IHMayday “Our voices: Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander social work” Bindi Bennett Stephanie Gilbert and Dawn Bessarab


#IHMayday Thanks a bunch now the portrayal of Indigenous men in health/human service provision promotional materials, (cont’d)

#IHMayday and the impact of lack of the lack of positive/empowering imagery. (cont’d)

#IHMayday  Also, how “behavioural change” programs contribute to negative stereotype and assumptions, (cont’d)

#IHMayday  and how promoting programs as “behavioural enhancement” is more strengths based.

#IHMayday Most programs for Indigenous males are about changing their “negative” behaviours and advertised as such.

#IHMayday Programs that correct violent behaviours, or aim to sober them up from alcohol and other drugs.

#IHMayday When these programs are publicly advertised there is no balance for the men but also for the general population to see.

#IHMayday This contributes to the ongoing demonization of Indigenous males and further excludes as positive contributors in society. 

#IHMayday How many Perinatal programs are targeted to new Indigenous Dads?

#IHMayday How many programs enhance the inherent strengths of Indigenous males?

#IHMayday When was the last time you sat in a waiting room and saw positive image of Indigenous males?

#IHMayday When was the last time you saw an Indigenous male being congratulated on buying their first home?

#IHMayday When was the last time you saw an Indigenous male being enticed into university?

#IHMayday When was the last time you saw an Indigenous male being positively portrayed on an Australian soap opera?

#IHMayday People wonder why so many Indigenous male youths are disengaged, well, society reflects that they are not part of it.

#IHMayday If you Indigenous males are not engaging in your services or programs then you’re not doing it right.


#IHMayday Black Rainbow supports  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI sistergirl & brotherboy & queer mob

#IHMayday  The voices of the Indigenous LGBQTI peoples are largely absent from both Indigenous & LGBQTI suicide prevention strategies & activities.

#IHMayday Challenges of providing Indigenous LGBQTI content in a suicide prevention strategy has been identified (Holland, Dudgeon, Milroy 2013). 

#IHMayday  Furthermore it has been indicated that more research needs to be conducted (National LGBQTI Health Alliance 2012).

#IHMayday However, exclusions of Indigenous LGBQTI people in suicide prevention activities are not believed to be a consequence of homophobia (con’td)

#IHMayday or racism but of structural heterosexism and eurocentric privilege. At the upcoming "Power Through Action" Human Rights Forum (cont’d)

#IHMayday in Darwin the voices of Indigenous LGBQTI peoples will be workshopped via an Indigenous methodology called "Yarning Circles" (Bessarab & Ng’andu 2010).