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Acknowledgement of Aboriginal people and communities in Victoria

The following acknowledgement was developed by the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in Dhelk Dja – Safe Our Way: Strong Cultures, Strong Peoples, Strong Families (Dhelk Dja) and has been adapted for Nargneit Birrang.

Victorian Aboriginal people are acknowledged as Australia’s first nations peoples and the custodians of the land and waterways upon which we depend. We acknowledge Victoria’s Aboriginal communities and culture and pay respect to their elders past and present.

Aboriginal culture is founded on a strong social, cultural and spiritual order that has sustained more than 60,000 years of existence. Victorian Aboriginal communities and peoples are culturally diverse, with rich and varied heritages and histories. Aboriginal cultural heritage and the ongoing contribution of Aboriginal people and communities to culture and society is acknowledged as a source of strength and pride to enrich the whole Victorian community.

The long-standing leadership of Aboriginal communities and Elders in Victoria is recognised in preventing and responding to family violence and improving outcomes for Aboriginal people, children and families. Additionally, there is widespread acknowledgement of the devastating impacts and accumulation of trauma across generations as a result of colonisation, genocide, the violent dispossession of land, the displacement of men from their traditional roles, and the assimilation policy that resulted in the removal of children and subsequent transgenerational trauma. The invaluable contributions of all those who have paved the way and fought for the rights of Aboriginal people, including the right to self-determination and the right to live free from violence, are acknowledged.

To ensure that Aboriginal people, children, young people, families and communities thrive, the Victorian Government is committed to an enduring community-led response to end family violence against Aboriginal people, underpinned by self-determination.

Self-determination requires government to value and respect Aboriginal knowledge, systems and expertise and to transfer authority, decision making control and resources to Aboriginal people. This requires a significant cultural shift and a new way of working together. The Victorian Government acknowledges that this is the key to better outcomes for Aboriginal people and stronger, safer families and communities. Aboriginal self-determination is the foundation of Dhelk Dja and also the foundation of Nargneit Birrang.

Acknowledgement of Participants and Artists

Nargneit Birrang has been designed by and for Aboriginal communities who are living in Victoria to reflect the wisdom of Aboriginal holistic healing approaches to family violence.

For this project the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and design studio ThinkPlace, funded by Family Safety Victoria (FSV), worked in partnership with Victorian Aboriginal communities to explore concepts and methods of holistic healing and the needs of communities for both preventing and responding to family violence.

We thank each person who generously committed their time and shared their stories and knowledge about family violence and holistic healing to Nargneit Birrang.

The qualities of resilience, determination, purpose, direction and strength were shared and evident throughout the project.

We thank the many important voices of leadership throughout the project, which have shaped Nargneit Birrang – especially those from the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum and the Dhelk Dja Regional Action Groups.

The many voices of Aboriginal people and community have been captured throughout Nargneit Birrang as direct quotes.

We also thank Emma Bamblett for her beautiful artwork that tells the Story of the River, which has become an important metaphor for the journey of healing from family violence, along with Reanna Bono for her graphic design work in the document.

This document hopes to reflect the many and strong voices from across the state.

Reviewed 21 January 2020

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