Shields for Living, Tools for Life


A rehabilitation program by CASSE Australia for at-risk Aboriginal youths.

Shields for Liv­ing, Tools for Life is a reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram by CASSE Aus­tralia for at-risk Abo­rig­i­nal youths between the ages of 13 and 17. The pro­gram is designed to curb offend­ing or re-offend­ing, and is part of the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry Government’s Cre­at­ing Safer Com­mu­ni­ties: Back on Track – Cut­ting Youth Crime’ Initiative.

Based on the Men’s Tjilir­ra Move­ment mod­el, the pro­gram focus­es on pro­mot­ing self-esteem, iden­ti­ty, capac­i­ty, and well-being through:

  • trans­mis­sion of cul­tur­al knowl­edge and skills about tjilir­ra (tra­di­tion­al tools), car­ing for coun­try, tra­di­tion­al hunt­ing and gath­er­ing, singing song lines, danc­ing and vis­it­ing Dream­ing sites;
  • strength­en­ing con­nec­tions between generations;
  • facil­i­tat­ing cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate trau­ma-informed ther­a­py on tra­di­tion­al lands; and
  • men­tor­ing and training. ”

Reflec­tion, heal­ing and repa­ra­tion is achieved through par­tic­i­pa­tion in:

  • Cul­tur­al Camps
  • Reflec­tive Group Meetings
  • Foren­sic Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Meetings
  • Assess­ment of impact and efficacy

Col­lab­o­ra­tion with DKA

A col­lab­o­ra­tion between DKA and CASSE sup­ports the con­tin­ued deliv­ery of Shields for Liv­ing, Tools for Life amidst the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A new out­door cul­tur­al camp space has been cre­at­ed at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct, which will allow the pro­gram to con­tin­ue deliv­er­ing work­shops while being sur­round­ed by 73 hectares of spec­tac­u­lar Arrernte bush­land. The Precinct, under­pinned by an Indige­nous Land Use Agree­ment, is a wel­com­ing and sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment which main­tains con­nec­tion to country.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion also sup­ports the growth of the DKA-led Codes 4 Life project and CASSE-led Shields for Liv­ing, Tools for Life pro­gram. The two pro­grams are mutu­al­ly sup­port­ive as they share com­mon focus areas: tak­ing own­er­ship and respon­si­bil­i­ty, pre­vent­ing reof­fend­ing, and main­tain­ing a con­nec­tion to culture.

This is a cre­ative and flex­i­ble response designed to allow us to con­tin­ue work­ing with our par­tic­i­pants safe­ly whilst the COVID-19 virus is a threat to our com­mu­ni­ty, whilst also pro­vid­ing the great oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow and strength­en our pro­grams through knowl­edge shar­ing and collaboration.”

- Rain­er Chlan­da (SFLT­FL Coor­di­na­tor) with Robert Hoosan (SFLT­FL Cul­tur­al Camp Coordinator)

The cul­tur­al camp will be used to con­tin­ue deliv­ery of the Men’s Tjilir­ra Move­ment mod­el, where young indi­vid­u­als in the Youth Jus­tice sys­tem will make tra­di­tion­al tools in a safe and sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment on country.