Community Specific Insights
Authority of Elders
- The authority of elders remains a crucial aspect of good engagement and coordination in Ngukurr. Elders are the right people to work collaboration with departments and organisations, such as the police, to sort out problems within the community.
- Senior elders addressing problems together allows them to make connections between various issues and develop more integrated solutions.
- Good engagement and agreement making practices provide valuable models for our young people to follow. Good engagement undertaken with our young people in mind.
- Government workers not engaging properly with the right community members can undermine the elders’ authority in the eyes of the young people and produces a ‘gap’ between young people and the land.
- Government needs to know that there are traditional rules concerning certain areas of the community, and this may have an impact on housing or other issues and decisions.
- Good engagement and coordination include making clear where money is coming from and where it will go.
- There is a significant and fundamental difference between Aboriginal and Munanga (European) cultures, and learning how to recognise and live with this is not always something that has been done well.
- The old village council used to be a good way for the Munanga and the elders to agree on what government business was to be undertaken, its budget, and time lines, local workers etc. It took seriously the clan affiliations and responsibilities of elders just like the language centre today.
- Good engagement involves good communication about what is happening, as well as strong contributions by elders and other community members to the making of community. Work ‘done from the inside’ keeps people-places strong.
- Good engagement entails understanding and respecting the life and culture of Aboriginal people, and providing good feedback and recognition.