Daily Archives: April 28, 2010

Next 17 Group “Place and the Custodial Ethic –an Aboriginal metaphysic”.

The May meeting of the 17 Group – on Wednesday the 5th of May at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End.

“Place and the Custodial Ethic – an Aboriginal metaphysic”. The speaker will be indigenous thinker Mary Graham.
Here are a summary of the themes to be addressed and a short biography of the speaker: Notes for Workshop

“In contemporary Australian society Aboriginal people lack both ideological and economic bases of power – they control neither things nor ideas. Whites control resources, productions and distribution.” (C. Howe, 1982)

To the extent that the Land is the Law, Aboriginal Australia seems to have said to the people: “co-operate, don’t compete; share, don’t hoard; extend your relationships and honour your sacred sites”. It was a Law, which requires an ahistorical view of time.

The world is immediate, not external, and we are all its custodians, as well as its observers. A culture that holds the immediate world at bay by objectifying it as the Observed System, thereby leaving it to the blinkered forces of the market place, will also be blind to the effects of doing so until those effects become quantifiable as, for example, acid rain, holes in the ozone layer and global economic recession. All the social forces, which have led to this planetary crisis, could have been anticipated in principle, but this would have required a richer metaphysics.

The voice(s) emerging from Place (community/locality) is the authentic one, not the ‘objective’, scientific description.

From the Indigenous point of view local innovation is the implicit basis of scientific knowledge. True science has to include the metaphysical aspects of knowledges. (5) Cajete, Gregory, “Native Science”, Clear Light Publishers, Santa Fe, NM 2000. p 69.

The inclusion of Place in a story provides an authentic explanation of how and why something comes into the world that in turn provides a balance between agency (human and spiritual) and point of origin or Place. Balance and re-balance is achieved when Place is used like an ontological compass. The story of alcohol (in Europe) is one such instance.

Example: An Indigenous group of people undergoing de-tox therapies requested information about the story of alcohol, not the official health dangers, not the historical account of how it is made, but the Dreaming Story of alcohol, that is, the Place from where it originated, the Ancestral Beings who brought it into the world and the meaning associated with it. The counselling staff were challenged by this request and had to research this aspect which led them to stories of the gods Bacchus, Dionysius, Pan and others and their role in bringing alcohol into being. This approach made a lot more sense to the Aboriginal clients and in turn impacted positively on their recovery. (6) San Roque, Craig, mid-1990’s, “Story of Alcohol-Sugarman Song Cycle” Documentary Video. Alice Springs.

Western contemporary techno-sciences, rather than being taken as definitional of knowledge, rationality, or objectivity, should be treated as varieties of knowledge systems. But even though knowledge systems may differ in their epistemologies, methodologies, logics, cognitive structures, or socioeconomic contexts, a characteristic they all share is localness.


Mary Graham was born in Brisbane and grew up on the Gold Coast, she is a Kombu-merri person on her father’s side and is also affiliated with the Waka Waka group through her mother.

She has lectured and tutored on subjects in Aboriginal history, politics, and comparative philosophy at the University of Queensland and at other educational institutions around the country.

She was the Administrator of the Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agency (AICCA) during the 1970’s and has been on the Boards and Committees of several Aboriginal organisations in Brisbane for many years since.

Mary was a member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation during its first term and was a member of the ATSIC Regional Council for South East Queensland for 6 years. She was also a Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner for 1 year. She then had her own successful consultancy in Aboriginal affairs – Mary Graham and Associates.

She has carried out research work for the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA), a Native Title Representative Body in Brisbane.

Other activities have included free-lance editing for UQP; publishing training guide manuals for various Government departments, Federal, State and Local Government levels; script development work for film and television with Murri-image Production.

She is currently working as a community development/research consultant for the Kummara Association in Brisbane – a Stronger Indigenous Families initiative.

Briefly adverting to the Trotsky question, an accredited spokesperson thought he might attend, to suggest, in an adroit and learned display, possible connections to the pre-class-struggle stage of the Marxist account of historical materialism, the so called ‘primitive communism’ of prehistoric fame, but then again he might, as usual, not. Be that as it may, come, as usual, yourself.

Dan O’Neill

Copy of Extract of AR Paper.docx

Working with Refugee/Asylum Seeker Children and Families Forum – MELBOURNE

Working with Refugee/Asylum Seeker Children and Families Friday 21 May 2010

Workshop content

Prof Louise Newman

9.30am 11.00am This forum will review the psychological and emotional issues facing children and young people seeking asylum and refugee status in the Australian context and will look at current issues in immigration detention impacting on children and adolescents. We will discuss approaches to psychological support for refugee children and their families and the moral and ethical issues involved in this work

Ida Kaplan

11.15am 12.45pm This presentation will address distinctive issues when working with children, adolescents and families of refugee background. Pre-arrival experiences characterised by exposure to violence and loss, systematic persecution and forced displacement will be considered along with a host of additional factors associated with the challenge of resettlement. They range from the broadest contextual factors, such as international security concerns and ongoing zones of war and conflict, to the local context, especially the quality of service systems in the areas of health, education and employment, and community attitudes. The composition of the family in Australia, dynamics of family life and personal resources are also fundamental considerations. Every encounter with people of refugee background is a crosscultural one and important practice and service delivery issues arise from this fact alone.

Pamela Rycroft

1.30pm 3.00pm In this presentation, Pam will be talking about the highs and lows of working with an openended, multi-family group program of asylum-seeker families, called ‘KidsZone’. She will discuss some of the particular issues for kids in families caught in the limbo of the process of seeking permanent residence, as well as some of the issues for the volunteer counsellors and child workers. About the speakers

Prof Louise Newman

Louise Newman is the Professor of Developmental Psychiatry and Director of the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology. Prior to this appointment she was the Chair of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle and the previous Director of the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry. She is a practising infant psychiatrist with expertise in the area of disorders of early parenting and attachment difficulties in infants. She has undertaken research into the issues confronting parents with histories of early trauma and neglect. Her current research is focussing on the evaluation of infant-parent interventions in high-risk populations, the concept of parental reflective functioning in mothers with borderline disorders and the neurobiology of parenting disturbance. Professor Newman is involved in the education of psychiatrists and a range of mental health professionals in the areas of attachment theory and infant-parent interventions. She is the Convenor of the Alliance of Health Professions for Asylum Seekers and an advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. She is the current President of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Ida Kaplan

Dr. Kaplan is Direct Services Manager at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (VFST). In that role she oversees client services, is involved in the development of service models for refugees and asylum seekers and has had extensive experience, locally and internationally training professionals in the provision of appropriate interventions for survivors of torture and trauma. Her interests are in the intersection of mental health and human rights issues in understanding recovery from trauma. Very recently she and her colleagues have completed research on the effects of long term detention.

Pam Rycroft

Pam is a psychologist and family therapist who has worked in mainstream psychiatry and community mental health, ambulance crisis line and private practice, as well as working with The Bouverie Centre since 1986. Her special interests are single session frameworks, sibling and grief issues and the unique contribution of children in families. She currently combines clinical work with supervision, training and consultation, and works as a volunteer counsellor at the Asylum-Seeker Resource Centre in West Melbourne. Venue MINDFUL Centre for Training and Research in Developmental Health Building C, 50 Flemington Street, FLEMINGTON.

Please see directions and parking details on the registration form

Registration Form

Working with Refugee/Asylum Seeker Children and Families 21 May 2010 Session Time: 9.30 am 3.00 pm (registration from 9 am)

Registration Details: Registration is compulsory. Please complete details below Cost: $75.00 (gst free) payable prior to the day by cheque or credit card.

Venue: Mindful, Building C, 50 Flemington St, Flemington Vic 3031 Catering: Morning tea and a light lunch provided. Parking: No parking available on site

All day parking is available as follows:

Mooltan Street (no restrictions on a Friday), Cashmere St and other streets in this area (restrictions apply check parking signs). There is also a handy pedestrian access from 115-117 Mooltan St to the back gate of the Mindful building (Building C)

Please visit http://www.mindful.org.au/page.asp?departmentID=196 for a map of the area or further information contact Mindful mindful-info or 03 93710203