ALA calls for a true celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture during NAIDOC week and for a different way of doing things. As white people let’s reflect on the system and how it is operating in our interests and against the well being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In whatever our sphere of influence let’s do something about it.
The 2018 Indigenous Health Summit brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders from all sectors with broad representation from health policy, research and practice agencies. All of us at Adaptive Leadership Australia (ALA) align strongly with the key messages voiced at the Summit: the need for systemic reflection and change and the need for a better analysis and change in how power is used by mainstream health care.
ALA facilitates leaders to reflect on their system. As Janine Mohamed reported to the Summit, the colonial health care system needs “to reflect on itself. It needs to problematise itself not us”.
ALA defines an adaptive problem as one that cannot be fixed by anyone other than the people disaffected by the problem. Summer May Finlay reports that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the knowledge holders of their communities and calls for them to be recognised as leaders of systemic change. ALA concurs with the Summit’s findings. As the knowledge holders an adaptive leadership principle is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the experts and the solution. ALA facilitates leaders to better understand and strategically work with the dynamics of power and rank.
ALA supports the Summit’s call for a comprehensive redistribution of power so that the 97% majority voice of the “colonial apparatus” no longer decides what happens in Indigenous health care.
The Summit also calls for Indigenous people power to decide what happens in their health care research space. Self determination is to decide what information is collected about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to decide how it is used. 87% of the work done by the Lowitja Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Institute is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. There is significant funding for Indigenous health research at the National Health and Research Institute but almost none of this work is led by Indigenous researchers who are the health knowledge holders of their communities. ALA considers this to be unacceptable.