Resetting the button of Aboriginal men's identity
Feb 23, 2018
Services: Codes 4 Life
After the footy game is over, what are the rules and who are the umpires we will listen to?
DKA program manager Michael Liddle came up with the idea for his workshop Codes 4 Life while watching a football game. He realised that, while playing football, Aboriginal men are strong, proud and disciplined. They play within the rules of the game, because that’s the best way to bring home the win. But when the game is over, what are the rules? Who are the umpires that Aboriginal men will listen to?
Codes 4 Life uses football as a lens through which respect for rules — both Western and Aboriginal — can be discussed. Observing the rates of substance abuse, physical violence and the cycle of recidivism, Michael saw that, in many cases, this lawless behaviour stemmed from a loss of cultural identity. By reconnecting with culture, Aboriginal men can strengthen their ‘Aboriginal hearts.’ As Kieran Finnane writes, “that strong sense of who he is brings a calmness of mind allowing a man to observe all of the clear requirements of the skin system, about looking after country and their families.”