9 July 2017 – John Morrison

Today is the culmination of NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee), held in July each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Last Sunday night at Prayers for Peace at Irene’s Place, Jeanette Mathews facilitated prayer for our indigenous people. So I thought today I’d share some of the information and prayer points from that night and invite your prayers and prayerful action too.

Here are 4 things we can learn (and pray about) from indigenous cultures1.

  1. The importance of care for the environment.

By incorporating indigenous views of the land into the way we care for the environment, we can be better stewards of the land.

  1. Preservation of language and history.

The NAIDOC theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. It seeks to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land, water, history and spirituality through story and song.

Some 250 distinct indigenous language groups covered the continent in the late 18th C and many of these had several dialects. Today only about 120 of these languages are still spoken and much work is being done to preserve them and recover others.

  1. The value of community.

Indigenous cultures teach us the importance of remembering where we have come from and being connected to our local communities.

  1. Knowledge of traditional medicine and agricultural practices.

This traditional knowledge is an invaluable resource.

The Federal Government’s “Close the Gap” Report released each February highlights the following gaps.  A Just Cause (an arm of Australian Baptist Ministries) provides the following information. Its website has related prayers2.

  • Indigenous child mortality rates are double those of non-indigenous Australians.
  • Indigenous life-expectancy is 10 years lower than non-indigenous Australians.
  • Only 60% of indigenous students stay to Year 12, compared to 85% of non-indigenous Australians.
  • Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family-related assault than non-indigenous women.
  • Only 48% of indigenous people of workforce age are employed. compared to 72% of non-indigenous people.

These gaps can be seen as the legacies of dispossession and marginalisation.

John

  1. Ashleigh Green, 18 Dec. 2012,australiancatholics.com.au
  2. ajustcause.com.au

 

 

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