Codes 4 Life
Reconnecting Aboriginal men with cultural identity, responsibilities and community
Codes 4 Life is a program that encourages Aboriginal men to find strength in their culture and uses football as a lens through which respect for rules can be discussed. Just as men have a role to play in their football team, they have other important roles. Embracing culture helps men understand their place in the world and their obligations to family, community, law and country.
Elders are central to the program; their presence provides authenticity, dignity and wisdom. Although Elders teach those willing to listen, with the next generation too distracted to learn, Elders fear that their cultural knowledge will die with them. By reconnecting with their Elders, participants remember the importance of protecting and passing on knowledge.
Codes 4 Life helps men turn down the volume of the distractions in their lives so they can listen to the voice of culture.
Men need support to navigate the challenging path through two worlds. Codes 4 Life offers men a chance to discuss issues, to seek advice and guidance, and to express difficult emotions with other Aboriginal men in a safe, empowering setting.
With a renewed understanding of their legacy, responsibility and identity, Aboriginal men are empowered by the strength and pride of their culture.
As Michael states, “For a man on the straight path of Aboriginal law, the journey that takes us from being boys to being men, the answers are clear. That journey teaches us our rules, our responsibilities and obligations. We look at all the issues around our business and the destructive aspects that alcohol is playing and the trouble and despair that it is playing with our ability to continue the knowledge around country. The question is put to the group that somewhere, someway, you are an owner of country; you are a caretaker of country and you can’t be looking after country if you are in jail. When you are in jail you miss a lot of ceremony, you miss a lot of law and you also miss a lot of meetings where you are needed to sit with your Elders and assist them to understand.”