About 100 Aboriginal men recently attended a three-day male health summit hosted by the Sunrise Health Service at the Banatjarl camp south of Katherine.
At the close of the summit last Thursday (July 2), they issued 22 recommendations. These include calls for:
- The Federal Government to immediately reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act with full integrity
- Health resources specific to Aboriginal men’s needs, including male support groups, places of healing, short-term drying out and more resources for long-term rehabilitation for those with alcohol and other drug problems
- Land Councils and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to organise a Territory-wide Aboriginal Male Health Summit
- The Federal Government to immediately review and reform the Basic Card system to eliminate the shame and distress to families who shop for basic necessities
- The Federal Government to remove immediately the pornography warning signs from the entrances to communities and send them back to Canberra, the pornography capital of Australia
- The Federal Government to advise how long Government Business Managers will be in communities and what processes are in place to transfer and mentor a new community-based management structure
- The start of an Aboriginal education revolution, including redesigning education curriculum to include and value traditional and cultural ways of learning includes the establishment of community, regional and state/territory Aboriginal education consultative groups for schools with large populations of Aboriginal students. Increase the participation rates for Aboriginal men in teaching professions, including building the capacity of Aboriginal teacher’s aides to become fully qualified teachers.
- The need for more mental health workers and resources in community controlled health organisations
The summit participants also supported the Inteyerrkwe Statement from the Congress Male Health Summit 2008 at Inteyerrkwe (Ross River Via Alice Springs), held a year ago.
This statement says, in part:
“We acknowledge and say sorry for the hurt, pain and suffering caused by Aboriginal males to our wives, to our children, to our mothers, to our grandmothers, to our granddaughters, to our aunties, to our nieces and to our sisters. We also acknowledge that we need the love and support of our Aboriginal women to help us move forward.”
You can find out more about Sunrise Health Service and the summit here.