Drawing good maps in Aboriginal men's minds

Jan 31, 2018

Services: Codes 4 Life

Michael Liddle discusses Codes 4 Life with the Wire

Codes 4 Life is a pro­gram for Abo­rig­i­nal men that is gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty and chang­ing lives in Cen­tral Aus­tralia. Know­ing who you are and being proud of it pro­vides pur­pose and strength, but many Abo­rig­i­nal men are los­ing this sense of iden­ti­ty through crime, sub­stance abuse and being caught between two worlds. The cre­ator of the pro­gram, DKA’s Michael Lid­dle, hopes that Codes 4 Life will change that by recon­nect­ing par­tic­i­pants to the strength of their cul­ture and remind­ing them about the impor­tance of iden­ti­ty, respon­si­bil­i­ty and legacy. 

What’s alarm­ing and increas­ing­ly hap­pen­ing is that Abo­rig­i­nal men are los­ing their iden­ti­ty, los­ing their purpose…which impacts on their com­mu­ni­ty. We ques­tion them about rear­ing and grow­ing up kids. What sort of con­ver­sa­tion are we leav­ing for the future devel­op­ment of our youth? In our cur­rent cli­mate, it’s not a very good view,” Michael says. 

Our pur­pose in these work­shops is to not sug­ar coat any­thing. We tell it like it is. We draw good maps in their minds about responsibility.”

Inter­view­er Annie Hast­well from the Wire asks Michael if it’s dif­fi­cult to get men to open up about their challenges.

Oh my word, you can hear a pin drop!” he laughs. Some men are real­ly qui­et. But by the end of the ses­sion, they’re talk­ing to us in lan­guage, telling us what their respon­si­bil­i­ties are regard­ing their moth­er’s coun­try, their father’s coun­try. They feel real­ly excit­ed about chang­ing the direc­tion of their life. They walk away as dif­fer­ent peo­ple than who they came in as. It’s real­ly pleas­ing work. When these men leave we all hug each oth­er, and when we see them in the street a cou­ple of weeks lat­er they’re real­ly hap­py to see us.”

With the Alice Springs work­shops prov­ing to be such a suc­cess, Michael plans to expand deliv­ery of the work­shop to Cen­tral Aus­tralian com­mu­ni­ties like Ti Tree, Laram­ba, Harts Range, and Engawala. Oth­er com­munties like Yuen­du­mu have also asked Michael to deliv­er Codes 4 Life. There’s inter­est com­ing from every­where!”, he says. 

Lis­ten to the full interview

The Wire interviews Michael Liddle

Magnify Michael17

Codes 4 Life cre­ator Michael Lid­dle is help­ing Abo­rig­i­nal men recon­nect to their cul­ture and identity.

Tags: Media

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