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Chris Croker and Dale Wakefield
Talking about ‘Shields for Living, Tools for Life’
August 16, 2019
Back on track – first cultural bush camps begin
November 1, 2019

Support ‘Shields For Living, Tools For Life’

The Northern Territory Government  Department of Territory Families has provided CASSE with a wonderful opportunity to run a dual cultural and therapeutic program for young offenders in Central Australia.

The program called Shields for Living, Tools for Life comprises 8 cultural camps on country based on The Men’s Tjilirra Movement (MTM) model in conjunction with a therapeutic program (reflection and forensic rehabilitation) with elders and/or family members for high risk youth offenders on diversion or in the justice system. This program includes psychological assessment.

CASSE believes that cultural competency and place-based determination and delivery impacts positively on social and emotional well-being and will serve to reduce recidivism. We hope our evaluation which will include psychological material and some information on offending rates will be able to further demonstrate the importance of cultural competency.

The first cultural camp begins this week on country near the community of Willowra which is 300 k from Alice Springs for six young people and their families.

We have a fantastic team on the ground:

Rainer Chlanda who is a youth worker our new co-ordinator and he is occupying a new office in Alice Springs with Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC). He won the 2018 Fitzgerald Youth Award which is an NT Human rights Award.

Jamie Millier Tjupurulla who has worked as Program Manager with The Men’s Tjilirra Movement (MTM) in the western desert and collaborated with other communities and organisations in the past four years. He has lived in the western desert for many years and has longstanding relationships with people. He is a man of Lore.

We have received an overwhelming response from the community of Willowra which is galvanized to support their youth, strengthen family relations and connections to culture, which is outside the scope of the original grant from Territory Families. We envisage other communities will want to come on board too and so more support for all is needed.

We know there is a high rate of young Aboriginal males in the justice system and that suicide rates are high in this group:

  • On an average day in 2017-18 the rate of young people aged 10-17 under supervision was the highest in the NT (59 per 10,000).
  • For detention, the rate was 15% per 0,000 in the NT.
  • The majority under supervision were males (81%).
  • Although only 5% of young people aged 10-17 in Australia are Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islanders almost half (2389 or 49%) of young people aged 10-17 under supervision on an average day were indigenous.
  • Indigenous young people aged 10-17 were 17 times more likely as non-indigenous young people to be in supervision.
  • Indigenous over-representation was highest in detention (23 times as likely) and for community based supervision 17 times as likely.
  • https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/youth-justice/youth-justice-australia-2017-18/contents/table-of-contents
  • The NT also reported the highest jurisdictional rate of child deaths due to suicide, with 13.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
https://health.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/729315/NT-Suicide.

Let us all come on board to change the legacies of transgenerational trauma and help these youth choose a future free of crime.

We can all endorse the Men’s Tjilirra Movement (MTM) and help these youth empower and make new connections with shields for living and tools for life.

The youth have said they want this program to continue.

Bring your friends and families on board to support these initiatives as well.

We are seeking additional financial support by donations to further enhance our program which would provide additional items we need such as:

  • A new Toyota – CASSE vehicle has done 500 k
  • Payment of Aboriginal elders and mentors
  • Camp consumables for community ceremonies
  • Filming
  • Program support
  • Research evaluation

Our banking details are:

Account name: CASSE Australia Inc.
BSB 033-058
Acc. No. 36-6161
Branch: Westpac, Kew.

Watch this space for new strong stories:

As Martin Jugadai, ngangkari (traditional healer) says: “Making tjilirra is special-it is the spirit of our grandfather inside you”.

The men of the western desert report that tjilirra are a source of pride, cultural survival, and emotional well-being: “If we do not have these we have no language, no culture.  We have nothing.  We are nothing.  It’s our history.  A part of us”.

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