Russel Guy: Art as a salve to welfare dependency? I …

Comment on Indigenous marathon – the chosen few by Jason.

Russel Guy: Art as a salve to welfare dependency? I don’t think so.
Aboriginal artists are almost universal on government benefits irrespective of their incomes.
Even those on high incomes are still on the dole, they periodically get a new or upgraded house, free medical care, kids private education paid for etc etc.

Jason Also Commented

Indigenous marathon – the chosen few
Russell, you say you are problem solving but first you have to acknowledge the problems.
The big problem is that to do justice to all Aboriginal people and placate the rest of society, especially the groups doing it very hard, funding must be provided to address genuine need.
And where self sufficiency is possible it should be mandated.
There are so many examples where a lack of needs assessment provides benefits that do a great deal of damage to Aboriginal people and their access to funds in the future.
One is high income earners remaining on welfare payments and being provided with houses etc.
Another, closer to home, is that all Congress staff and their families getting free medical and dental care.
Take a doctor on a massive salary relative to most of us having free dental care provided for her partner and kids at tax payer expense.
This is irrespective of race.
This sort of thing is doing harm and as the recession noose tightens around our national budget there could be a backlash.

Indigenous marathon – the chosen few
@Russell. Your generalisation that art is a salve to welfare dependency is simply untrue and I’m not sure whether you are standing by your claim or not.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas, Ronnie Tjampitjnpa etc were nurtured by taxpayer-subsidised, community-based art centres providing all their material and artistic guidance and the artists earned millions tax free.
They all remained on welfare benefits.

Recent Comments by Jason

Little progress with $64m management system for trouble kids
These management systems are outsourced to Indian IT companies.

Little progress with $64m management system for trouble kids
Information management systems with magical capabilities have an unfortunate history in the NT.
The need for them emerges when governments have run out of solutions to major problems.
This one is claimed to “get young people out of the cycle of crime”.
Similarly IMOS was designed to break the cycle of recidivism and reduce the numbers of prisoners in our jails.
IMOS took twice as long to make and cost more than twice its original budget.
It was a near useless system, mismatched to on the ground realities and the needs of Corrections staff.
For political reasons it was never used to research which programs actually worked in reducing recidivism.
This case management system will also blow out in cost and will not break the cycle of crime.
But with no answers it is timely, even if useless and yet more expenditure we can’t afford.

Dujuan’s moving story and its missing pieces
@ Meg: Thanks for your post. The need for Aboriginal children to have their histories, identities, languages and culture taught and valued in our education system inspires In My Blood It Runs. This is a timely message for our local schools.
I was shocked when I worked as a teacher at Yirara College to discover that Aboriginal histories, identity, languages and culture are ignored.
The students knew almost nothing of their own history but were familiar with the white history of Australia. What could be more important to identity than knowing your own history?
It was always my interest at Yirara to address the shortfall of Aboriginal history but it was not encouraged.
It struck me as unbalanced that Anzac Day, commemorating mainly white wars, is so important in the Yirara calendar that staff work on that public holiday in order to accompany students to watch the march.
By contrast there are Aboriginal heroes that could and should be celebrated.
I found the story of Jandamarra inspirational and taught it. Jandamarra was a Bunaba resistance fighter who fought against cattlemen trying to take over his people’s country.
His bravery is celebrated in the film Jandamarra’s War.
This was objected to at Yirara because Jandamarra killed white people and this was considered unacceptable.
Teaching and valuing Aboriginal histories, identities and culture also has the capacity to engage students and stimulate their learning. In place of the boring mainstream curriculum at Yirara that fails to engage students it could be an important breakthrough.

Anger with out-of-control kids: council needs to step up
Financial incentives and disincentives have been tried and both have failed.
All strategies aiming to throw the responsibility back on parents have not worked.
We must move on.
Of course schools can’t teach everything but it is reasonable to expect them to reinforce the values that are under threat, namely respect for western rules and property.
Teaching values has always been part of schooling and is not an additional burden.
There is evidence reported by the Alice Springs News that some schools are part of the problem rather than the solution.
In my opinion it is timely to examine the part that schools are playing or not playing in the Aboriginal youth crisis in our town.

Anger with out-of-control kids: council needs to step up
@Jack1 Of course parents should step up but that sentiment has been expressed dozens of times and it is clear that they won’t or can’t.
We have to go beyond wishful thinking.
It is logical to try to influence these kids on their first contact with our institutions and that’s school.
Yipirinya at the primary level and Yirara for secondary are the main ones.
Imagine the benefits of heading off these kids at an early age, before they become street criminals and in time prisoners at the local jail.
Michael Liddle says that Alice Springs has people who have no regard for western rules or property within the municipal area of Alice Springs.
Schools are not responsible for this or at fault but they should be addressing the issue as far as they can in my opinion.
Having regard for western rules and property should be part of schooling.

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