A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work: Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and Practice

A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work: Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and Practice

A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work: Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and Practice

A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work: Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and Practice

Synopsis

Most people of European background are not aware that they see the world through the lens of the Western tradition, but for Indigenous people, it can seem like a foreign language...Indigenous ways of thinking and working are grounded in many thousands of years of oral tradition, and continue among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people today. Lorraine Muller shows that understanding traditional holistic approaches to social and emotional wellbeing is essential for practitioners working with Indigenous clients across the human services. She explores core principles of traditional Indigenous knowledge in Australia, including relatedness, Country, circular learning, stories, and spirituality. She then shows how these principles represent a theory for Indigenous practice...'A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work' offers a deep insight into Indigenous Australian ways of working with people, in the context of a decolonisation framework. It is an invaluable resource for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners and researchers in health, social work, community work, education and related fields...'In today's global environment, where Indigenous Peoples continue to fight for self-determination, Muller's work is an exemplary model of Indigenous self-determination. It is bound to be a foundational model of Indigenous practice in field of health and well-being.' - 'Michael Hart, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work, University of Manitoba'..'Lorraine Muller's work covers some centrally important issues for those that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and who want to understand indigenous knowledge frameworks.' - 'Dr Mark Wenitong, Apunipima Cape York Health Council'

Excerpt

I was deeply honoured and humbled when invited to write the foreword for Lorraine Muller’s book, A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work. At a time when the development of a more astute interactional framework around the engagement of nonIndigenous professionals with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is generating a lot of interest, this book provides a much overdue and timely response.

Lorraine Muller utilises her cultural and professional experiences to provide the reader with an analysis and articulation of issues that impact upon Indigenous Australians within the context of Australia’s health and human services. From the outset, the author fills the reader with a sense of enquiry as she cleverly adopts both a professional and cultural lens to explore an ideological and theoretical overview of social science and social work, which she aptly names ‘social health’. This analysis provides a unique challenge to stereotypic meanderings often expressed about Indigenous Australians in the workplace and puts paid to archaic notions of Indigenous contributions to the Australian social, economic and political landscape.

The author takes the reader on a personal and intellectual journey of confrontation, cultural ignorance and reform as she reveals her own experiences within the academy when confronted by non-Indigenous supervisors who were, too often, culturally inept. in highlighting this anomaly Muller states that ‘While it was recognised that Indigenous Australians have a different way of working, as documented in Murri Way!, a “different way of working” is often relegated by non- Indigenous supervisors, co-workers or employers to a “welfare context” in the workplace, creating for the Indigenous worker a whole scenario of stereotypes to contend with.’

At a point when ‘closing the gap’ on Indigenous poverty has been embraced as a national policy by all levels of government, the need for . . .

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