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Sunday, 1 July 2007

Indigenous policy from a development perspective.

Reflecting on the policy framework, style and language employed by the Australian Government in responding to what has been an on-going crisis in the lives of indigenous people and their communities I came across comments in a reflection on development that highlighted our unwillingness to face the realities of cultural difference and spell out the normative framework underlying Government policy.

We all know and agree what developpment is - well don't we?

IN Development to a Different Drummer the authors observe that:

"For persons to be subjects rather than objects of development all parties must willingly listen actively to each other. Active listening indicates the importance of all individual in a development process where people matter. ... For the development process to be people-centered everyone involved must be able to understand and appreciate the different culturesfrom which the various parties come. If some are from outside, they must appreciate and understand the local culture, just as the local parties must do the dame for cultures from outside.

People-centeredness means that development is not unilateral, but a collaborative effort by all parties. ... This will be reinforced by jointly created, culturally appropriate paarticipatory decision-making structures and systems." (p.229)

The discussion by the authors Yoder, Redekop and Jantzi highlight some of the questions that arise in any treatment of the connections between human values, dignity and wellbeing as unproblematic.

The reflexiveness and willingness to be self-critical in this treatment by one faith tradition (Anabaptist/Mennonite) of its engagement with development is revealing and to be commended in the light of the Australian Government's current adventure in militarising the development process with no willingness to be open and honest of its deep implication in the destruction of human community and individual wellbeing that it is now setting out to try and ameliorate.

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