Angka Arretye: Telling it Straight

Dec 04, 2019

Services: Codes 4 Life, Desert Leadership

Reconnecting Aboriginal men with culture and driving positive change.

Codes 4 Life aims to dri­ve pos­i­tive change around men’s behav­iour by focus­ing on iden­ti­ty, respon­si­bil­i­ty and leav­ing a strong lega­cy for the next gen­er­a­tion. The pro­gram is designed to address and pre­vent alco­hol-relat­ed unlaw­ful behav­iour such as domes­tic vio­lence, sex­u­al assault and dri­ving under the influ­ence, by recon­nect­ing Abo­rig­i­nal men with their cul­ture, and instill­ing a sense of under­stand­ing about their iden­ti­ty and respon­si­bil­i­ties with­in the community.

This year, the pro­gram has been strength­ened with $1.36 mil­lion fund­ing by Nation­al Indige­nous Aus­tralians Agency (NIAA), for­mer­ly the Depart­ment of the Prime Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net. The fund­ing has sup­port­ed the more fre­quent deliv­ery of pro­grams across Cen­tral Australia.

Over the last fort­night, Codes 4 Life has deliv­ered two work­shops includ­ing one in Alpurru­ru­lam and one at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct in Alice Springs. Both work­shops were well-attend­ed with a com­bined par­tic­i­pa­tion of about 70 Abo­rig­i­nal men.

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The Codes 4 Life work­shop held at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct.

Where do I come from,” and, What do I stand for,” are com­mon ques­tions for many Abo­rig­i­nal men to grap­ple with. Codes 4 Life is work­ing to address issues stem­ming from dis­ad­van­tage and trau­ma, and lend clar­i­ty to their sense of being and pur­pose under the pres­ence and guid­ance of Elders and senior lead­ers with­in the Abo­rig­i­nal community.

Senior Abo­rig­i­nal lead­ers Andrew Davis (Aran­da), Peter Wal­lace (Aran­da), Ron­nie Webb (Aranda/​Allyawarra), Robert Hoosan (Pitjantjatjara/​Luritja) and Mar­tin Hagan (Anmat­jere) were present at the work­shop held at the Precinct to offer their guid­ance and support.

Codes 4 Life also works close­ly with the Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment Pro­gram, Drug and Alco­hol Ser­vices Aus­tralia (DASA), Cen­tral Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal Alco­hol Pro­grammes Unit (CAAA­PU), Depart­ment of Social Ser­vices, the NT Police Force, NT Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tors and lawyers to deliv­er round­ed, com­pre­hen­sive pro­grams which par­tic­i­pants can relate to and effec­tive­ly engage with.

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The Codes 4 Life work­shop in Alpurru­ru­lam. The pro­gram incor­po­rates a vari­ety of tools and com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods into its work­shops to ensure a round­ed delivery.

Sergeant Amit Singh from Camooweal Police trav­elled to Alpurru­ru­lam to speak to work­shop par­tic­i­pants about respect and law enforce­ment, explain­ing that the role of the police was to ensure pub­lic safe­ty and that issu­ing an arrest was a last resort. His vis­it inspired a healthy under­stand­ing between the NT Police and the Indige­nous men.

Sergeant Singh, along with the Elders and lore man, empha­sised the impor­tance and need for men to fol­low the right path and be lead­ers for the next gen­er­a­tion. The effect of this was wit­nessed in a par­tic­i­pant express­ing his ambi­tion for self-devel­op­ment say­ing, I want to pro­vide for my son; not just in a mate­ri­al­is­tic way, but to be able to offer guid­ance.” The par­tic­i­pant went on to explain how he was able to con­nect with his inner self when he went out bush, and this was the ver­sion of him­self he want­ed to show his son, not the one being swayed by exter­nal influences.

The Codes 4 Life goal of com­mu­ni­cat­ing the impor­tance of respon­si­bil­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty is invig­o­rat­ed by hav­ing a vari­ety of engage­ment meth­ods includ­ing pre­sen­ta­tions, group talks, activ­i­ties and show­ing video clips. Despite par­tic­i­pants span­ning a wide age range between 16 to 58, the focus on angka arretye”, which is Alyaw­erre for straight talk” or telling the truth”, encour­ages par­tic­i­pa­tion and pro­motes open communication.

Eval­u­a­tion sheets are hand­ed out at the end of the ses­sions to elic­it feed­back and under­stand poten­tial areas for growth. Fol­low-ups are organ­ised with par­tic­i­pants with­in three to four weeks of the work­shops, to deter­mine the effect on the par­tic­i­pants. Codes 4 Life is see­ing a huge­ly pro­duc­tive out­come from the work­shops and fol­low-ups, with par­tic­i­pants com­mu­ni­cat­ing a pos­i­tive change in their cog­ni­tive process­es, express­ing a desire for per­son­al growth, and call­ing for more workshops.

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Michael Lid­dle at the Codes 4 Life work­shop at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct.

Codes 4 Life Man­ag­er Michael Lid­dle is com­mit­ted to the con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of the com­mu­ni­ty, and says, Our hos­pi­tals are filled up; our cour­t­hous­es are filled up; our jails are filled up. The one place not being filled up is our schools. We need more police­men; we don’t need more foot­ball heroes.”

Codes 4 Life will end the year with a final pro­gram deliv­ered in Ten­nant Creek on 12th and 13th Decem­ber before gear­ing up for a busy 2020.

Other DKA Stories

Straight Talk: “I was born to do this”

Aug 21, 2020

Codes 4 Life Project Officer Wayne Scrutton shares his journey with the program.

DKA Hosts Their Excellencies, General the Honourable David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley

Aug 10, 2020

Desert Knowledge Australia was honoured to host His Excel­len­cy the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, at the Desert Knowledge Precinct.

DKA Operations: COVID-19 Update

Mar 20, 2020

DKA team to begin working remotely, effective Monday, 23 March.