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NAIDOC 2020

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We are delighted to share with you interviews with several researchers so that you can find out more about what led them to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the opportunities and challenges that prevail and what this year's theme means to them.

You can also browse and read a collection of over 80 free-to-access research papers spanning a range of topics and centred around this year’s theme: Always was, Always will be.

Pamela Laird

“My whole world encompasses a passion and commitment to see the gap in health outcomes close for Australian First Nations. In that sense, NAIDOC is relevant every week. NAIDOC helps remind all Australians to reflect, acknowledge, respect and celebrate the richness of First Nations culture and worldviews, which thrives through their connection to Country, which extends over 60,000 years.”

Pamela Laird
Senior Respiratory Physiotherapist, Perth Children’s Hospital and researcher at Telethon Kids Institute

Pamela Laird

Pamela Laird

Senior Respiratory Physiotherapist, Perth Children’s Hospital and researcher at Telethon Kids Institute

Twitter Icon@pammylaird

We won't find what we don't look for: Identifying barriers and enablers of chronic wet cough in Aboriginal children

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?

Field of work: Paediatric chronic suppurative lung disease in Australian First Nations children.

Current projects

  1. Production and adaption of culturally secure health literacy materials on respiratory conditions for Australian First Nations.
  2. Production of online training modules for clinicians to provide culturally secure respiratory care to Australian First Nations children.
  3. Improving health outcomes for Australian First Nations children hospitalised with chest infections.
  4. Improving early recognition by families and management by clinicians for protracted bacterial bronchitis in Australian First Nations children.
  5. Determining prevalence of protracted bacterial bronchitis in First Nations children in Northern Western Australia.

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
As a clinician, I have always viewed the responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of my paediatric patients and their families as a privilege that should never be taken for granted.

About 10 years ago, I was working as part of a multidisciplinary team providing respiratory care to First Nations children in northern Western Australia. I noticed many First Nations children with advanced lung disease that could have been potentially halted or reversed had we provided care earlier. For a whole number of reasons, these children had not received early care. Despite Australia being a wealthy nation, the health trajectories for Australian First Nations are grim and are more comparable to people in developing nations. I found these statistics confronting and felt a responsibility as a clinician to find solutions to change these trajectories in my field of expertise, i.e. respiratory health.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?
Biggest opportunities: Several First Nations communities have asked us to partner and journey with them to find solutions to the respiratory health problems of their children. Communities are engaged, motivated and equipped to partner in translational medical research, which is structured such that we can build capacity and improve health outcomes of children in a sustainable way, while we do the research. Local community members are developing skills as researchers.

Biggest challenges: Our country is very large. Communities are very remote (sometimes more than 2000km from the nearest tertiary hospital). Access can be limited, with rains cutting off road access for months. Logistically, doing research is expensive and requires careful engagement, planning and contingency plans. For many non-Indigenous researchers, one of the biggest challenges is learning to set aside Western views and adopt a way of engaging that is responsive to local cultural ways and acknowledges health as being holistic for Australia’s First Nations.

What challengers/barriers have you had in your career?
The biggest barrier was also the biggest facilitator. The right order for research with First Nations is to be community driven. The health problem I was researching was not well understood amongst First Nations. How can a community invite you to research something they had no knowledge was a health issue? We spent several years engaging with communities to share the message before we could commence the work. The beauty in telling our story, and hearing the local stories, was the forging of new relationships and partnerships with First Nations communities and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. The project was framed and co-designed through these engagements. Our commitment to this process was crucial. The traction gained from the two-way process resulted in several successful projects, where local capacity was built, knowledge was translated into practice and real-world sustained and positive change occurred for these communities.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?
My whole world encompasses a passion and commitment to see the gap in health outcomes close for Australian First Nations. In that sense, NAIDOC is relevant every week. NAIDOC helps remind all Australians to reflect, acknowledge, respect and celebrate the richness of First Nations culture and worldviews, which thrives through their connection to Country, which extends over 60,000 years.

For me, this year’s theme, “Always Was, Always Will Be” is a testimony to the resilience of Australia’s First Nations, the traditional custodians of our country – while they have suffered unspeakable trauma as a legacy of colonisation, they are moving forward. They are patient teachers and together we learn; they teach us about their culture, and we share about good health and wellbeing. This strong partnership helps us move forward together in strength and health.

Read their Wiley published article here

Corrinne Sullivan

“This important theme is about recognising Indigenous sovereignty, and to acknowledge and celebrate our continuous connection to our land, culture and traditions.”

Corrinne Sullivan
Associate Dean (Indigenous Education) & Senior Lecturer, Geography and Urban Studies, School of Social Sciences

Corrinne Sullivan

Corrinne Sullivan

Associate Dean (Indigenous Education) & Senior Lecturer, Geography and Urban Studies, School of Social Sciences

Twitter Icon@rin_sullivan

Who holds the key? Negotiating gatekeepers, community politics, and the “right” to research in Indigenous spaces

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?
My knowledges stem from the fields of Human Geography and Indigenous Studies, I draw on both to broadly understand the ways in which Indigenous Australians affect, and are affected by, their experiences of space and place. I am currently researching with Indigenous Australian sex workers, the project explores the ways in which Indigenous Australian sex workers negotiate their everyday lives, as well as their cultural, gender and sexual identities.

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
Since the invasion by the British of the country, now known as Australia, Indigenous Australian peoples, and our communities, have been a subject of curiosity examined by social scientists. The resultant research has led to sometimes violent, inaccurate, and stereotypical views and perspectives being (re)produced across the scholarly landscape. It is imperative that the discourses produced across the literature be addressed and challenged. To this end, the intention of my work as an Indigenous scholar is to build and foster relationships with Indigenous communities and to assert Indigenous scholarly narratives of agency, autonomy, and self-determination in the pursuit of positive and effective outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?
The biggest challenge for the communities in which I work is often the lack of visibility and the silencing of individual voices. Those that are marginalised within their own communities can often sit in the blind spots of research agenda. However this also presents as an opportunity to interrogate the very idea of community/ies, who is setting the research agenda, and to work diligently to ensure that those that are silenced are represented with agency and autonomy.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?
'Always was, always will be' is about sovereignty. We as Indigenous Australian peoples have never ceded our sovereignty to our lands and waterways. Therefore, this important theme is about recognising Indigenous sovereignty, and to acknowledge and celebrate our continuous connection to our land, culture and traditions.

Read their Wiley published article here

Emma Lee

“NAIDOC Week helps to guide my thoughts and research as to what our communities need to make ourselves strong and complete in our caring for country.”

Emma Lee
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow
Adjunct Lecturer
Centre for Social Impact
IMAS, University of Tasmania
Swinburne University of Technology

Emma Lee

Emma Lee

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow
Adjunct Lecturer
Centre for Social Impact
IMAS, University of Tasmania
Swinburne University of Technology

Twitter Icon@DrEmmaLee1

Protected Areas, Country and Value: The Nature–Culture Tyranny of the IUCN's Protected Area Guidelines for Indigenous Australians

What is your name and affiliation?
Mr name is Dr Emma Lee and I am a trawlwulwuy woman of tebrakunna country, north-east Tasmania. I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow, RegionxLink programs, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology. I often publish under the authorship of ‘tebrakunna country and Lee, E’ to denote country as a co-author and to signal an Indigenous practice of centring identity connected to place.

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?
As an Aboriginal researcher, my fields of work are anchored in country and all the threads and parts that allow me to care for it. I work in land and sea governance and management, policy and regulatory environments, and social impacts of Indigenous-led regional development. My current research is focussed on establishing a market for cultural fisheries in Tasmania, where we are able to use our cultural strengths and assets of connections to sea country to build strong and healthy communities alongside sustainable business. The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation are joining multiple Aboriginal Tasmanian communities and state and federal governments to bring our vision of cultural fisheries to life, and begin to heal the relationships between Aboriginal and other Tasmanians through the sharing of our seafoods and connections to sea country.

Country and research is also leading me into democracy, voice and self-determination projects, with my role on the Federal Government’s National Co-Design Group for Voice to Parliament models. It is of the highest honour to engage with this level of public service and build on the many Indigenous, and other Australian, voices who are creating the good negotiating environments that allow for transparent, inclusive and diverse democracy.

How does your work expand on Indigenous rights?
I rely heavily on the use of Indigenous methodologies – the ways of knowing and doing within our Indigenous lifeworlds – as a tool to both promote our knowledge systems as necessary to improve the mainstream academy and to decolonize the institutions and structures that cause us colonizing harms. My knowledges come from my country, Elders, family and communities and thus I am in the fortunate position of being able to centre their voices as influences over the direction of research.

The values associated with working together come from country and lead my advocacy towards Indigenous-led strategies that deliver mutual benefit for broader communities. When our voices and knowledges are paired together with good governance of, for example, sea country to establish markets for cultural fisheries, then there is a legitimate and strong basis for government policy and regulation to account for our contributions, innovation and positive economic social impacts that expand the potential for regional development.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?
In 2013, I purposely begun my PhD journey to coincide with NAIDOC Week. This was to remind me that generations of Elders and communities have tirelessly worked to open education up to all Indigenous peoples at any level, in any place, including me in a tiny town in Tasmania. NAIDOC Week helps to guide my thoughts and research as to what our communities need to make ourselves strong and complete in our caring for country. I love this year’s theme, Always Was, Always Will Be, and remember I was in Sydney the first time I heard our beautiful rallying cry. That seems so appropriate, given the sacrifice the peoples of Sydney country made on our behalf as the first defenders of country and peoples against our colonization.

Read their Wiley published article here

Professor Catherine Althaus

“This year’s NAIDOC theme speaks to me of the enduring nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and its continuing relevance today and into the future. Their strength and resilience is incredible”

Professor Catherine Althaus
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Professor Catherine Althaus

Professor Catherine Althaus

University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Twitter Icon@AlthausCat

Different paradigms of evidence and knowledge: Recognising, honouring, and celebrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?

I work in the fields of public administration, public policy and politics and I work across scholarship and practice in these areas. I am currently involved in projects relating to Torres Strait Islander leadership, the management of community grief, place-based policymaking and reimagining Weberian bureaucracy.

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
My father lived with and taught Aboriginal children in far north Queensland. I was one of the non-Indigenous folks, however, who was afraid to say or do anything in case I got things wrong. That all changed fifteen years ago after listening to the stories of Aboriginal leadership that I heard from a Commonwealth Aboriginal public servant. From then on, I started working with Indigenous public servants across Canada, Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand to make space for their stories to be heard and their lessons to be imparted. I am on a continuing journey of working as a non-Indigenous woman to progress the ideas and lessons of Indigenous public administration.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?
Self-determination is a right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. The opportunities that self-determination provides is broader than for these communities alone. Aboriginal elders speak of wanting to gift all of Australia with lessons from their wisdom and lived traditions. I strongly believe the future of Australia rests on listening carefully to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and responding respectfully to what they can teach everyone.

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, what challengers/barriers have you had in your career and do you find other indigenous researchers experience?
I am non-Indigenous

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have carried out profound and dynamic teachings and practices over thousands and thousands of years. These practices of sustainable stewardship and governance provide important lessons that every human being can relate to and should take notice of. This year’s NAIDOC theme speaks to me of the enduring nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and its continuing relevance today and into the future. Their strength and resilience is incredible. Just like country, their deep power sustains this place we call Australia. I passionately want Australia to recognise this and to progress tangible action that acknowledges the Makarrata process they have asked us as a nation to follow.

Read their Wiley published article here

Michael F. Doyle

“A sense of belonging is important for mental and spiritual health, and affirming this can help oneself, one’s family and members of the community feel strong and connected… NAIDOC is a special time of year for all Australians and we should celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage together.”

Michael F. Doyle
Wingara Mura Senior Research Fellow
Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol
The University of Sydney

Michael F. Doyle

Michael F. Doyle

Wingara Mura Senior Research Fellow
Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol
The University of Sydney

Twitter Icon@MichaelDjarindj
Twitter Icon@CRE_IndigAlc

Onset and trajectory of alcohol and other drug use among Aboriginal men entering a prison treatment program: A qualitative study

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?
I have continued on from my PhD work on alcohol and other drug (AoD) treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (respectfully referred to hereafter as Indigenous) men involved with the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, we Indigenous Australians make up over a quarter of the Australian prisoner population, but only about 3% of the general population. Many factors drive this high level of Indigenous imprisonment, including intergenerational trauma from colonisation/invasion and ongoing discrimination and racism. Many of the same factors contribute to over consumption of alcohol (among those who do drink) and use of illicit drugs by some. At least two thirds of Aboriginal people entering prison have used illicit drugs daily or near daily or consumed risky amounts of alcohol regularly. So, there is need for the most effective AoD treatment services in prison. I hope to find ways to improve access to AoD treatment for Aboriginal people in prison to help reduce their substance use when released. This could improve health, social functioning and may also reduce likelihood of re-offending and return to prison.

Like most academics I am involved with multiple projects so I would like to highlight just one project, Alcohol dependent patients and the criminal justice system. This work is in partnership with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (JH&FMHN) of New South Wales. It examines opportunities for (and current provision of) treatment for alcohol use disorders by prison health services. Preliminary results illustrate that JH&FMHN patients have complex health needs in addition to their need for support for alcohol withdrawal and relapse prevention upon release. We hope that the findings will help inform augmentation of clinical care and support for patients with alcohol use disorders in Australian prison settings.

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
Being Aboriginal I have always been interested in working with Indigenous communities. My interest in prison health has been long standing; I have had many family members go into and be released from prison. I know the family and friends of people who have died in custody. I also know too well, what social dysfunction can arise from heavy consumption of alcohol or use of illicit drugs, and that already poor health can be made worse by AoD use. This may sound a bit depressing, but I find a sense of purpose from working to improve access to quality help for AoD use. My hope is to help both reduce harms from imprisonment and reduce harms from substance use and I am deeply committed to continue my research.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?
Most of my work is with Indigenous men, so I’ll address the question from that perspective. As there are many areas to discuss, I will once again reflect on a single issue. For families that have a partner go into prison, it makes life far more difficult for the family in the community. If these men (who were sent to prison) were better able to address their AoD use problems, they may be less likely to go to prison and more likely to be at home to help care for their children. The challenge is to support these men and their families to make changes in their life, by offering the best possible AoD treatment services. There as so many opportunities for these men if they can sustain a change, particularly if they can hold a job and help provide for their families.

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, what challengers/barriers have you had in your career and do you find other indigenous researchers experience?
I think focusing on one’s own research can be difficult as there are so many competing priorities and relatively few Indigenous academics. While the University sector may aim for employment of Indigenous people to reach population parity (about 3%), at present we make up only about 1% of the University workforce. Most universities are doing what they can to increase the number of Indigenous staff but there is still work to be done. It is great to be collaborative and most Indigenous researchers are fortunate as we get lots of opportunities. However, Indigenous researchers also have to focus to ensure their own research is done and that they get those ever-important papers written and published.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?
Always was, Always will be is such a powerful statement. It tells everyone that the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people always was and always will be here in our homeland, Australia. A sense of belonging is important for mental and spiritual health, and affirming this can help oneself, one’s family and members of the community feel strong and connected. This is even more important during a pandemic when people are social distancing and with travel restrictions that mean we can’t visit family who live in another part of the country. NAIDOC is a special time of year for all Australians and we should celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage together.

Read their Wiley published article here

Warrick Nerehana Fort

“NAIDOC Week and particularly this year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ is a reminder for me to always be thankful that I’ve been allowed to find my feet here on Wadjuk Country, where the river runs deep and I only arrived in the last rain so to speak.”

Warrick Nerehana Fort
Ko Mātaatua te waka; ko Taiarahia te maunga; ko Ōhinemataroa te awa; ko Te Purewa te tangata; ko Tūhoe te iwi. I am an Early Career Researcher in the School of Built Environment, Curtin University Perth.

Warrick Nerehana Fort

Warrick Nerehana Fort

Ko Mātaatua te waka; ko Taiarahia te maunga; ko Ōhinemataroa te awa; ko Te Purewa te tangata; ko Tūhoe te iwi. I am an Early Career Researcher in the School of Built Environment, Curtin University Perth.

Twitter Icon@ACIARAustralia

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?
Indigenous Livelihoods – I am currently researching women’s financial capability and inclusion, and formal and informal microfinance initiatives in Papua New Guinea as part of a project funded by Curtin and The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
I am a member of the Tūhoe people from the Te Urewera region of Te Ika a Māui (The North Island of Aotearoa-New Zealand), and a co-convenor for the Indigenous Peoples Knowledges and Rights Study Group; a research collective within the Institute of Australian Geographers.

I also have a BA Hons and PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Curtin, and while studying towards my honours degree (2010-2013) was alarmed to find that there was no course material whatsoever on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their connections to Country, or their relationships to the Australian planning system.

This was despite the fact that Curtin’s planning degree was meant to be one of the most progressive in Australia. My only window into this space was a third year elective unit I took called 'Introduction to Indigenous Australians' (and was the only planning student to do so).

So, for my PhD I wanted to undertake research where I could learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and better understand the historic and contemporary experiences of their communities within colonial and contemporary Australian settings, https://espace.curtin.edu.au/handle/20.500.11937/69388

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?
I’ll respond to this question in the context of Aotearoa-New Zealand, but my answer may be equally applicable to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Unity is the biggest challenge and opportunity. Some of our communities are beset by terrible socioeconomic problems, and there are often disagreements within and between communities over how to prioritise and solve these problems, which is only natural. The starting point for resolving these disputes and problems should always be ‘kanohi ki te kanohi’, or face to face (dialogue).

How we arrive at a collective solution or consensus around problem-solving is not well understood by wider society though, and therefore subject to outside attacks that diminish our efforts, such as social media trolling. Also, some community members will simply present their side of an argument via social media, or even conservative media outlets, which often serves to create further discord.

Worse still, this is berley for media trolls and commentators who enjoy seeing disunity amongst our communities, like to denigrate our cultural practices, and continue to promote assimilation, rather than mutually beneficial coexistence, as the best and only path forward.

And while some of these trolls and commentators feign concern for our problems, I ask: ‘How often do they actively seek to help our communities - kanohi ki te kanohi?

It is only when our leaders have come together at the table, face to face, with the intent to take unified action, that our collective strengths, talent, resources and networks have been leveraged to find the best paths forward to solving our problems.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’?
NAIDOC Week and particularly this year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ is a reminder for me to always be thankful that I’ve been allowed to find my feet here on Wadjuk Country, where the river runs deep and I only arrived in the last rain so to speak.

Elizabeth Dale

“I also hope that (…) people might become curious about Aboriginality and want to find out about our culture and our peoples for themselves rather than relying on the media and other public stereotypes to inform them.”

Elizabeth Dale
I am a Worimi woman, psychologist and PhD student with the University of Wollongong and the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol. I am also a research assistant with the University of Sydney.

Elizabeth Dale Kylie Lee

Elizabeth Dale

I am a Worimi woman, psychologist and PhD student with the University of Wollongong and the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol. I am also a research assistant with the University of Sydney.

Kylie Lee

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, deputy director of the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol, and visiting research fellow with La Trobe Uni (Centre for Alcohol Policy Research). I am also one of Liz’s PhD supervisors.

Twitter Icon@dadiyama_kylie
Twitter Icon@CRE_IndigAlc

Asking young Aboriginal people who use illicit drugs about their healthcare preferences using audio‐computer‐assisted self‐interviewing

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?

We work in the research area of alcohol and other drug use and mental health and wellbeing among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) peoples.

Liz: my PhD focuses is on improving the relevance and helpfulness of mutual support groups (SMART Recovery, in particular) for Indigenous Australians by integrating cultural knowledge and traditional practices.

Kylie: I have been lucky enough to work on this field since 2005. My research is community- or health service-led, with a strong focus on workforce development. One of my key projects has developed an iPad application to improve how we collect self-report data on drinking from Indigenous Australians. Another is a Centre of Research Excellence that is creating pathways for Indigenous Australians to lead the way in alcohol research – including excellent students like Liz!

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Liz: As an Aboriginal woman I feel it is my responsibility and my calling to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. I am passionate about promoting our traditional views of health and wellbeing and working towards a more equitable and inclusive society for everyone’s benefit.

Kylie: From growing up in Darwin to living in remote Arnhem Land (Northern Territory), I have always been drawn to working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Later, while living in Arnhem Land, I ended up doing my PhD on cannabis and mental disorders, and what communities could go to address cannabis and related harms. I am lucky to have many strong (and fearless) Aboriginal role models and mentors. They have taught me that together we can work together to create a better world. But change needs to have local ownership (i.e. guided by individuals, families, communities and health services).

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?

Liz: There are plenty of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be healthy and well owning to our incredible resilience, strengths, creativity, humour, cultural wisdom and knowledge. We are one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world, so we certainly know a lot about health and wellness!!

Because our health is holistic (i.e. physical, psychological, emotional, environmental and spiritual are all interconnected) we face many challenges because of historical, political, and socio-economic health determinants. These have not only caused a range of health conditions for us, such as substance use disorders and other problematic behaviours of addiction like gambling and disordered eating, but they perpetuate our ill health by resulting in inequitable systems such as within the mainstream health care sector that marginalises and oppresses us. It basically comes down to this, on a day-to-day level, many of us have lost connections to culture or live in conditions that could have been prevented. We strive for the right to live culturally meaningful and satisfying lives.

Kylie: I agree with Liz, health is holistic, so to help people with issues from alcohol and other drugs or mental health, it is not just a health issue. We need a synthesised and respectful way to engage with local experts to bring about meaningful change for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also need to ensure that research methods used are accommodating of varied world views and Indigenous research methodologies.

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, what challengers/barriers have you had in your career and do you find other indigenous researchers experience?

Liz: This is a big question to answer...
For me its the struggle to practice as a psychologist with an Indigenous cultural worldview in a very science based, western-oriented discipline. The struggle is not that I can’t work in this position, because I can and do, I even like some of the theories and have seen many people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous heal by utilising therapies like CBT and ACT.

The struggle for me is that the western psychology paradigm does not make room for Indigenous cultural knowledge or seek and Indigenous perspective when establishing its theories or testing effectiveness of these. Most evidence-based treatment trials have not included Indigenous peoples, or if, they did, numbers were small or there has been a separate discussion regarding how the treatment works within a cultural context. Also, because cultural knowledge is not “scientifically proven” or “a universal theory” western psychology discounts it.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?

Liz: I would hope that this year’s theme encourages people to reflect on the true origins of this beautiful country and consider how since colonisation, issues of power and privilege affect Aboriginal people on a day-to-day basis. I also hope that by doing so, people might become curious about Aboriginality and want to find out about our culture and our peoples for themselves rather than relying on the media and other public stereotypes to inform them.

Kylie: We live in a land where sovereignty was never ceded. I hope this year’s theme can help people reflect on that in their everyday lives, and that together meaningful change can be brought around to make the Uluru Statement from the Heart a reality. I also hope that we can continue to celebrate and cherish the contribution, expertise, humour and diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Read their Wiley published article here

Kylie Lee

“I also hope that we can continue to celebrate and cherish the contribution, expertise, humour and diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Kylie Lee
I am an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, deputy director of the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol, and visiting research fellow with La Trobe Uni (Centre for Alcohol Policy Research). I am also one of Liz’s PhD supervisors.

Elizabeth Dale Kylie Lee

Elizabeth Dale

I am a Worimi woman, psychologist and PhD student with the University of Wollongong and the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol. I am also a research assistant with the University of Sydney.

Kylie Lee

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, deputy director of the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol, and visiting research fellow with La Trobe Uni (Centre for Alcohol Policy Research). I am also one of Liz’s PhD supervisors.

Twitter Icon@dadiyama_kylie
Twitter Icon@CRE_IndigAlc

Asking young Aboriginal people who use illicit drugs about their healthcare preferences using audio‐computer‐assisted self‐interviewing

What is your field of work and what projects are you currently involved in?

We work in the research area of alcohol and other drug use and mental health and wellbeing among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) peoples.

Liz: my PhD focuses is on improving the relevance and helpfulness of mutual support groups (SMART Recovery, in particular) for Indigenous Australians by integrating cultural knowledge and traditional practices.

Kylie: I have been lucky enough to work on this field since 2005. My research is community- or health service-led, with a strong focus on workforce development. One of my key projects has developed an iPad application to improve how we collect self-report data on drinking from Indigenous Australians. Another is a Centre of Research Excellence that is creating pathways for Indigenous Australians to lead the way in alcohol research – including excellent students like Liz!

What led you to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Liz: As an Aboriginal woman I feel it is my responsibility and my calling to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. I am passionate about promoting our traditional views of health and wellbeing and working towards a more equitable and inclusive society for everyone’s benefit.

Kylie: From growing up in Darwin to living in remote Arnhem Land (Northern Territory), I have always been drawn to working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Later, while living in Arnhem Land, I ended up doing my PhD on cannabis and mental disorders, and what communities could go to address cannabis and related harms. I am lucky to have many strong (and fearless) Aboriginal role models and mentors. They have taught me that together we can work together to create a better world. But change needs to have local ownership (i.e. guided by individuals, families, communities and health services).

What do you see as the biggest opportunities & challenges in your field for these communities?

Liz: There are plenty of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be healthy and well owning to our incredible resilience, strengths, creativity, humour, cultural wisdom and knowledge. We are one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world, so we certainly know a lot about health and wellness!!

Because our health is holistic (i.e. physical, psychological, emotional, environmental and spiritual are all interconnected) we face many challenges because of historical, political, and socio-economic health determinants. These have not only caused a range of health conditions for us, such as substance use disorders and other problematic behaviours of addiction like gambling and disordered eating, but they perpetuate our ill health by resulting in inequitable systems such as within the mainstream health care sector that marginalises and oppresses us. It basically comes down to this, on a day-to-day level, many of us have lost connections to culture or live in conditions that could have been prevented. We strive for the right to live culturally meaningful and satisfying lives.

Kylie: I agree with Liz, health is holistic, so to help people with issues from alcohol and other drugs or mental health, it is not just a health issue. We need a synthesised and respectful way to engage with local experts to bring about meaningful change for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also need to ensure that research methods used are accommodating of varied world views and Indigenous research methodologies.

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, what challengers/barriers have you had in your career and do you find other indigenous researchers experience?

Liz: This is a big question to answer...
For me its the struggle to practice as a psychologist with an Indigenous cultural worldview in a very science based, western-oriented discipline. The struggle is not that I can’t work in this position, because I can and do, I even like some of the theories and have seen many people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous heal by utilising therapies like CBT and ACT.

The struggle for me is that the western psychology paradigm does not make room for Indigenous cultural knowledge or seek and Indigenous perspective when establishing its theories or testing effectiveness of these. Most evidence-based treatment trials have not included Indigenous peoples, or if, they did, numbers were small or there has been a separate discussion regarding how the treatment works within a cultural context. Also, because cultural knowledge is not “scientifically proven” or “a universal theory” western psychology discounts it.

What significance does NAIDOC Week have for you and this year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be?

Liz: I would hope that this year’s theme encourages people to reflect on the true origins of this beautiful country and consider how since colonisation, issues of power and privilege affect Aboriginal people on a day-to-day basis. I also hope that by doing so, people might become curious about Aboriginality and want to find out about our culture and our peoples for themselves rather than relying on the media and other public stereotypes to inform them.

Kylie: We live in a land where sovereignty was never ceded. I hope this year’s theme can help people reflect on that in their everyday lives, and that together meaningful change can be brought around to make the Uluru Statement from the Heart a reality. I also hope that we can continue to celebrate and cherish the contribution, expertise, humour and diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Read their Wiley published article here

Archaeology and Anthropology

Geography, Ecology and Environment

Medicine

Medicine

Comparison of Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus in Indigenous and Non‐Indigenous Patients at a Regional Centre in Australia
Australasian Journal of Dermatology

Hidradenitis suppurativa: A neglected disease in Indigenous Australians
Australasian Journal of Dermatology

Infertility in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: A cause for concern?
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Decisions to consent for autopsy after stillbirth: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's experiences
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Sexually transmitted infections and preterm birth among Indigenous women of the Northern Territory, Australia: A case–control study
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Measuring the quality of surgical care provision to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
ANZ Journal of Surgery

Measuring (and narrowing) the gap: The experience with attendance of Indigenous cancer patients for Radiation Therapy in the Northern Territory
Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology

Cataract surgery and Indigenous eye care: A review
Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology

Epidemiology of ocular trauma in the Indigenous vs non‐Indigenous population in the Top End
Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology

Presence of diabetic retinopathy is associated with worse 10‐year mortality among Indigenous Australians in Central Australia: The Central Australian ocular health study
Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology

Repeat pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination does not impair functional immune responses among Indigenous Australians
Clinical & Translational Immunology

Looking forward, looking back: An Indigenous trainee perspective
Emergency Medicine Australasia

Hospital use in Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal patients with chronic disease
Emergency Medicine Australasia

Towards identification of immune and genetic correlates of severe influenza disease in Indigenous Australians
Immunology & Cell Biology

Systems immunology reveals a linked IgG3–C4 response in patients with acute rheumatic fever
Immunology & Cell Biology

Prevalence and sites of pain in remote‐living older Aboriginal Australians, and associations with depressive symptoms and disability
Internal Medicine Journal

Not just a policy; this is for real. An affirmative action policy to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to seek employment in the health workforce
Internal Medicine Journal

Improving the quality of hospital care for Indigenous adolescents: Experiences from the Top End
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health‐care delivery: The views of health‐care professionals in Sydney's tertiary paediatric hospitals
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Hospital pharmacy services supporting Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia: a systematic review
Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research

Evaluation of a home medicines review program at an Aboriginal Medical Service in the Northern Territory
Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research

Investing in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents: a foundation for achieving health equity
Medical Journal of Australia

Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged under 35 years: a consensus statement
Medical Journal of Australia

Female preterm indigenous Australian infants have lower renal volumes than males: A predisposing factor for end‐stage renal disease?
Nephrology

Independent effect of haemodialysis session frequency and duration on survival in non‐indigenous Australians on haemodialysis
Nephrology

Gathering Perspectives ‐ Finding Solutions for Chronic and End Stage Kidney Disease
Nephrology

How do we improve health care? The example of missed opportunities to address chronic wet cough in children in remote Australia
Respirology

We won't find what we don't look for: Identifying barriers and enablers of chronic wet cough in Aboriginal children
Respirology

Global Lung Function Initiative‐2012 ‘other/mixed’ spirometry reference equation provides the best overall fit for Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young adults
Respirology

Further evidence of the generalizability of the Global Lung Function Initiative reference equations for spirometry
Respirology

Now we say Black Lives Matter but …The fact of the matter is, we just Black matter to them
Medical Journal of Australia

Mammographic parenchymal patterns and breast cancer risk in New South Wales North Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences

Changes to radiotherapy utilisation in Western NSW after the opening of a local service
Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences

Pectoralis major radiation recall
Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences

Cost of hospitalization for bronchiectasis exacerbation in children
Respirology

Mental Health and Addiction

Mental Health and Addiction

Adolescent and young adult substance use in Australian Indigenous communities: a systematic review of demand control program outcomes
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Social networks and quitting in a national cohort of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers
Drug and Alcohol Review

Survey methods and characteristics of a sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non‐Indigenous people who have recently used methamphetamine: the NIMAC survey
Drug and Alcohol Review

Asking young Aboriginal people who use illicit drugs about their healthcare preferences using audio‐computer‐assisted self‐interviewing
Drug and Alcohol Review

Recommendations for the medical work‐up of first episode psychosis, including specific relevance to Indigenous Australians: A narrative review
Early Intervention In Psychiatry

Improving youth mental wellness services in an Indigenous context in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories: ACCESS Open Minds Project
Early Intervention In Psychiatry

“If you don't speak from the heart, the young mob aren't going to listen at all”: An invitation for youth mental health services to engage in new ways of working
Early Intervention In Psychiatry

Culturally tailored tobacco control: Aboriginal community perspectives in Sydney, Australia
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Evaluating an Aboriginal tobacco social marketing project in Sydney, Australia
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Onset and trajectory of alcohol and other drug use among Aboriginal men entering a prison treatment program: A qualitative study
Drug and Alcohol Review

Nursing Dentistry and Healthcare

Nursing Dentistry and Healthcare

Risk factors for falls among older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in urban and regional communities
Australasian Journal On Ageing

Prevalence and context of racism experienced by older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Australasian Journal On Ageing

Medication safety challenges in Aboriginal Health Care services
Australian Journal of Rural Health

High prevalence of early onset anaemia amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants in remote northern Australia
Australian Journal of Rural Health

Home to health care to hospital: Evaluation of a cancer care team based in Australian Aboriginal primary care
Australian Journal of Rural Health

Educating for Indigenous public health competence – how do we stack up in Australia?
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Closing the gap between rhetoric and practice in strengths‐based approaches to Indigenous public health: a qualitative study
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Health literacy and Australian Indigenous peoples: an analysis of the role of language and worldview
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Chronic disease self‐management programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Factors influencing participation in an urban setting
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

“That makes all the difference”: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health‐seeking on social media
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Oral health status, behaviours, food and beverage consumption of aboriginal children in Australia
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Measuring health disparities in Australia: Using data to drive health promotion solutions
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Experience of providing cultural safety in mental health to Aboriginal patients: A grounded theory study
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Lip service: Public mental health services and the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Early childhood anaemia more than doubles the risk of developmental vulnerability at school‐age among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children of remote Far North Queensland: Findings of a retrospective cohort study
Nutrition & Dietetics

Exploring the impact of Aboriginal health placement experiences on the preparation of dietetic graduates for practice with Aboriginal communities
Nutrition & Dietetics

Social Policy, Politics and Economics

Social Policy, Politics and Economics

Indigenous Women's Sporting Experiences: Agency, Resistance and Nostalgia
Australian Journal of Politics and History

Marching for Assimilation: Indigenous Identity, Sport, and Politics
Australian Journal of Politics and History

Closing the Gap: Examining how the problem of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage is represented in policy
Australian Journal of Social Issues

“Moving from transactional government to enablement” in Indigenous service delivery: The era of New Public Management, service innovation and urban Aboriginal community development
Australian Journal of Social Issues

Widening the gap: White ignorance, race relations and the consequences for Aboriginal people in Australia
Australian Journal of Social Issues

Listen, learn, build, deliver? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy in the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Australian Journal of Social Issues

Importance of Land, family and culture for a good life: Remote Aboriginal people with disability and carers
Australian Journal of Social Issues

Complexity and hybrid effects in the delivery and evaluation of youth programmes in a remote Indigenous community
Australian Journal of Public Administration

Arguing about Indigenous administrative participation in the Whitlam era: A representation theory analysis
Australian Journal of Public Administration

Different paradigms of evidence and knowledge: Recognising, honouring, and celebrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being
Australian Journal of Public Administration

Financial Stress and Indigenous Australians
Economic Record

Heterogeneity in Auction Price Distributions for Australian Indigenous Artists
Economic Record


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