The Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference
18-20 June 2019 | Darwin
Article by Candice Butler
The Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference was held from the 18th to the 20th of June in beautiful Darwin and I was extremely fortunate to attend and present on behalf of QATSICPP.
The conference highlighted the importance of having an Indigenous space that is built on First Nations knowledges and values. There were 760 national and international conference delegates.
The theme of the conference was Thinking Speaking Being. Furthermore, the conference aimed to:
- Highlight the importance of language in enabling empowerment, cultural strength, wellbeing, and individual, family and community identity.
- Remind delegates and presenters to consider the global implications of their work to highlight the role of First Nations people in leading change, and to showcase Indigenous solutions.
- Encourage ways of thinking and knowing in research, and ways of interacting and sharing knowledge including the role of language.
Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to connect with Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues and to hear the importance of research being Indigenous-led, Indigenous-informed with genuine partnerships and collaboration.
My presentation focussed on the importance of Self-Determination in Child Protection. I drew upon the recent legislative amendments; the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle; and, Active Efforts. I felt as though the presentation went really well.
At the conclusion of the conference, a “Conference Statement” was developed. This can be found at:
I encourage everyone to attend a Lowitja Conference as it allows us to understand the importance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers leading and undertaking the research for our people.
5th International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conference
The 5th International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conference was held in Hualien, Taiwan form the 5th to the 7th of August. Hualien is a beautiful area surrounded by rainforest, ocean and Taroko National Park.
This conference brought together both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Social Workers from across the globe. I had the opportunity to meet with delegates from New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Taiwan, South Africa and of course, Australia.
I had the opportunity to present twice at the conference. I presented on the QATSICPP Position Statement for Aboriginal Kinship Care and Active Efforts. Both presentations I felt went really well and I have had some wonderful feedback and questions following the conference.
It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly was the “best” part of the conference so I thought I would compile a list of my highlights:
- Learning, throughout the conference, about the history of the Aboriginal people in Taiwan and how this history is similar to that of so many other Indigenous people around the world. But, as this conference highlighted, we are strong people.
- Karina Walters, speaking about Historical Trauma and the Trail of Tears walk undertaken by a group of Native American mothers and their children.
- The Welcome Night was a beautiful evening of food and dancing by the local Aboriginal tribes.
- Michael Hart spoke about Indigenism and learning our own history.
- Tuesday afternoon we spent with a local Aboriginal Tribe. We learnt about their weaving practices and a project undertaken by the local youths were they built a model of their local area. Absolutely inspiring.
- Christine Fejo-King drew upon her personal experience of generational planning in 7 years to show how achievable this is for us all.
- The final keynote ended with a brilliant PowerPoint presentation titled “Walk the Footsteps of the Ancestors” by Robyn Corrigan and Miriama R. Scott.
This conference was a wonderful opportunity to network and to reinvigorate as an Aboriginal Social Worker. Thank you to Natalie and the team for your support, guidance and allowing me the opportunity to attend and represent QATSICPP.