Newsletter date: 26 December 2014
* Analysis / Opinion: Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer: "It is racism killing our people - suicides born of racism"
* Analysis / Opinion: Dr Woolombi Waters, The Stringer: To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our People and our Culture
* Report: Culture Is Life: The Elders Speak
* Analysis / Opinion: Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer: The smaller a community, the less likely suicide
* Audio: NIRS: Suicide, crime rates to increase if homelands close: Eggington
* News: Erin Parke, ABC News: Families urged to look after each other as Kimberley region records seven suicides in seven weeks
* Analysis / Opinion: Angharad Owens-Strauss, SMH: Children with suicidal behaviour using lethal methods
* Urgent Action: Indigenous Youth Suicide Must End
* Analysis / Opinion: Rachelle Irving, Crikey: Trauma in the Kimberley: what life is like in remote indigenous communities
* WGAR Background to Suicide and Self-harm in First Nations Communities
WGAR News Public Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB#!forum/wgar-news
WGAR News - Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: "It is racism killing our people - suicides born of racism"
The Stringer: http://thestringer.com.au/it-is-racism-killing-our-people-suicides-born-...
Indymedia Australia: https://indymedia.org.au/2014/12/14/it-is-racism-killing-our-people-suic...
7 Dec 14: " ... Today, I bring to you the story of another suicide, of another young life cut down by the abomination of racism. ... The First Peoples of the Kimberley and the Northern Territory have among the world’s highest suicide rates, and unless the Federal Government as a whole steps up I can state without any reservation that this catastrophic crisis is only going to get worse. ... It is only at the request of Philinka’s mother’s that we have published the photo of Philinka and used her name. Philinka’s mother, Lena, is urging for much to change for all her people, and that her daughter’s passing brings on the journey to the changes that would have made a difference to Philinka and the many others who we should not have lost." By Gerry Georgatos
- Declaration of impartiality conflict of interest: The author of this article, Gerry Georgatos, is a senior researcher and community consultant with the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our People and our Culture
11 Dec 14: "My colleague Gerry Georgatos is among Australia’s leading authorities on Indigenous youth suicide. He told me of the last 13 youth suicides in Western Australia; 12 were doing well at school, many were employed and showed none of the signs you would associate to someone wanting to end their life. One of these children was 18 year old daughter, Philinka Powdrill. Philinka was buried last weekend in her Kimberley hometown of Fitzroy Crossing having just graduated from a Melbourne boarding school. ... " By Dr Woolombi Waters, a Kamilaroi language speaker and writer, a lecturer at Griffith University. He writes a weekly column for the National Indigenous Times.
Culture Is Life: The Elders Speak
"One of the initial actions of the Culture Is Life campaign was the development of the Elders Report on Preventing Indigenous Self Harm and Youth Suicide. Culture Is Life representatives traveled across the country, gathering vital messages from senior Elders about the solutions needed to solve the youth suicide crisis. These voices form the heart of the campaign, which acts to press community concerns upon Government and service providers on the best ways forward for their communities. The Elders Report has now been published, and is available for download and sharing. ... "
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: The smaller a community, the less likely suicide
25 Nov 14: "Suicides are less likely in small remote communities and instead are more likely in larger remote and regional towns. Western Australia’s Premier linked ‘high suicide rates’ in remote communities to justifications for the State to shut down 100 to 150 small remote. These small communities are actually places of respite and refuge, safe havens, where troubled at-risk people do go to. In these communities they are distant from the risk factors that indeed flourish in large towns. ... " By Gerry Georgatos, a life-long human rights and social justice campaigner, a multi-award winning investigative journalist
NIRS: Suicide, crime rates to increase if homelands close: Eggington
19 Dec 14: "The Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia says he fears a rise in social problems if remote communities across the state are closed. ... Dennis Eggington has described the proposal as unfairly targeting Aboriginal people. ... " Warren Barnsley with Koori Radio
Background: Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in WA and SA
(last updated: 19 December 2014)
ABC News: Families urged to look after each other as Kimberley region records seven suicides in seven weeks
24 Dec 14: "Seven people are believed to have suicided in WA's Kimberley region in the last seven weeks, as communities are urged to look out for each other over the festive season. Researchers have identified Christmas as a high-risk time for Aboriginal people considering self-harm. ... There are indications 2014 has been the worst year for some years in terms of Aboriginal deaths in WA. Researcher Gerry Georgatos said there had been more than 30 Aboriginal suicides so far this year, including at least 18 in the Kimberley." By Erin Parke, a cross media reporter based in Broome in WA's Kimberley region. She is passionate about the Kimberley.
- Analysis / Opinion
Sydney Morning Herald: Children with suicidal behaviour using lethal methods
10 Dec 14: "Children and young people engaging in suicidal behaviour are using lethal methods to self-harm, a report has found. ... The report also found 28 per cent of deaths were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, despite the fact they represent only 3 per cent of the nation's population. Indigenous youths aged 15-24 years-old are 5.2 times more likely to die due to intentional self-harm than non-indigenous youths in the same age range, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics published in the report. ... " Angharad Owens-Strauss
- Urgent Action
Indigenous Youth Suicide Must End
"Almost non-existent 30 years ago, the rate of youth suicide and self-harm in Indigenous communities across Australia is now the highest in the world. Urgent action is desperately needed to address this crisis. Current mainstream efforts by Government policy makers and health and social services are not working, nor are they empowering communities to implement their own solutions. Indigenous community leaders and Elders are calling for your support to help them heal their young people, by reconnecting them to their culture, and strengthening their sense of identity. They are asking that long-term funding be directed to grassroots, community-based programs that are working on the frontline with at-risk youth, providing vital support, cultural education and on-country healing. ... "
- Analysis / Opinion
Crikey: Trauma in the Kimberley: what life is like in remote indigenous communities
17 Dec 14: "Policies are made in Canberra with the best of intentions, but in remote Western Australia, the outcome is very different to what politicians imagined. East Kimberley Homelessness Project co-ordinator Rachelle Irving details life on the ground. In all the talk about the Western Australian government closing remote Aboriginal communities, there has been little said about these places and the people who live there. The federal government has committed to the "Close the Gap" initiative, but until decisions and policies are based on harsh realities, nothing will improve. ... " Rachelle Irving
WGAR Background to Suicide and Self-harm in First Nations Communities
(Last updated: 24 December 2014)
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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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