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Home Issue 20 Dujuan's moving story and its missing pieces

Dujuan's moving story and its missing pieces

Above: Dujuan in the hills near his home at Hidden Valley in Alice Springs. Photo by Maya Newell, director of In my blood it runs. 

 

REVIEW by KIERAN FINNANE

Last updated 19 February 2020, 3.07pm: “prison officers” amended to “youth justice officers”.
 
 

“What drew you into the streets and what did you find there?”

 

The question was put from the floor to Dujuan Hoosan, a bright, thoughtful, rather charismatic youth from a loving Aboriginal family who nonetheless was getting into trouble, at school and on the streets, and was in danger of entering the justice system.

 

Dujuan is at the centre of the documentary, In my blood it runs, which screened to a full house at Araluen last Saturday. We first meet him as a 10 year old and he is already running away at night – a big worry for his mother and grandmother.  It reaches a crescendo as he heads towards his 11th birthday, when the police identify him from CCTV among a group of youths jumping on cars and smashing them. They warn his family that this is his last chance.

 

It is then that his mother (affectionate and attentive) and grandmother (fiercely protective) make the hard decision to send their son and grandson north, to Borroloola, into the care of his father.

 

This comes about three-quarters of the way into the film. In all that time viewers have been offered only limited insight into what is so troubling Dujuan – the things that might answer that question from the floor.

 

From the stage, Dujuan responded to the second part of the question, about what he found on the street: “Family and friends, people to hang out with, people who give you love, people who spoil you with things that you can’t get.”

 

The first part, what drew him there, is more complicated, and it is not surprising that a young person might struggle to understand it, let alone articulate it.

 

The film’s production team would probably claim that the film does this job but, despite its interest – my attention never flagged – and its many merits in telling a moving story, I came away with that question largely unanswered. 

 
Right: Dujuan with Maya Newell, the film’s director, outside his home.
 

Of course, we get some clues: right at the start, Dujuan and other children of his age are playing in the hills above Hidden Valley, the town camp where Dujuan lives. Looking out over the town they comment on the golf course and surrounding area, places they see as being for rich people who have good houses, with “clean fronts”. They see themselves as ‘have nots’, in material terms, and this sharply contrasts their lives with the other lives out there.

 

Conditions at home though, to the extent that we see them, don’t seem bad.  Dujuan, his mother, his big brother and baby brother have a house. It seems well-kept and not over-crowded. Money is tight. For instance, one night there’s no power (presumably because they don’t have another  power card for the meter, rather than a blackout). One morning there is no milk for breakfast, but we see Dujuan making himself some toast at school.

 

The big money worry comes when Welfare threaten to cut off his mother’s payments when he keeps skipping school (According to the Department of Social Security, this discriminatory measure, known as SEAM, no longer applies, effective 31 December 2017).

 

The film places a strong emphasis on Dujuan’s negative experiences at school. Part of what we see is to do with school culture, as many a parent, especially of boys full of restless energy, could attest, although that culture is arguably more alienating and mystifying for Aboriginal children and their families.

 

There are lessons that fail to engage him – boring (except for Arrernte, when his face lights up with pleasure) and seemingly irrelevant, even though somewhere along the line he has been engaged because he has some ability to read and write. Attempts to exert discipline over him fail spectacularly. Three days suspension? “Yes!” he exclaims.

 

Feedback to him and his family in a report card full of ‘Es’ is demoralising and seems not to have been balanced by any appreciation of his many obvious qualities. (I can say that I, as a parent, privileged and white as I am, have had this experience and have seen the damage it caused.)

 

A meeting with the principal of Yipirinya School – as much as one might want to recognise the many pressures this woman is under – is a disaster. Rather than having his slate wiped clean and an emphasis put on his chance now to make good, Dujuan has his nose rubbed into his failures. If his apology isn’t going to be accepted, if the basic message is that he’s bad – and remember he is only 10 – then how does the principal think he is going to react? (Again, I can say I have had this kind of experience with my child.)

 

There are other school experiences shown whose impacts are more specific to Dujuan as a young Aboriginal person – and in scene after scene he articulates just how important this identity is to him; this is what, in his own words, runs “in my blood”. (This aspect of his portrait is one of the real achievements of the film in a number of beautifully-realised scenes.)

 
Left: Dujuan in class, photo by Maya Newell. 
 

Most egregiously, we see a history lesson in progress (this seems to be at Sadadeen School), where the teacher (unseen but heard) is using The Australia Book by Eve Pownall. It is immediately obvious that the book is of another era. I am flabbergasted to discover, by searching online, that it was originally published in 1952, when it won the Children’s Book of the Year Award.

 

In 2008 it was republished in a facsimile edition, its publishers proclaiming that it is “welcomed by literacy experts, teachers, librarians, historians, and parents and grandparents who treasured it as children”. If this is so, I don’t know what rock they have all been living under in relation to the very big shifts in understanding of and reckoning with Australian history and of relationships between Indigenous and other Australians.

 

The teacher tells Dujuan and his class that this book “isn’t a story, it’s information” meaning “non-fiction or fact” and it’s about “the history of our country”. He starts to read to them about Captain Cook’s voyage up the east coast and what a great sailor he was and how he eventually claims “for the English country the whole of this new land”.

 

The teacher points out the illustration of the English flag, commenting that it is “still on our flag”. There is no suggestion that any of this is up for discussion or commentary.

 

We don’t see all of the lesson that follows, but we do see the children being asked to identify on their work sheets words like Botany Bay, First Fleet, convicts, Arthur Phillip.

 

It beggars belief that this book is being used in the 21st Century in any Australian classroom unless it is going to be carefully contextualised and then balanced by a story of how these events were being viewed from the shore. (Dujuan knows, not that he’s asked in the classroom: “The Aboriginal people told them to go and find another land, because this was their land.”)

 

It is very poor education that the book is presented as simply “fact”; it is utterly affronting that this is to a classroom full of Aboriginal children.

 

Little wonder that Dujuan feels alienated from this lesson and it’s impressive to hear him articulate why: this history is “for white people, not for Aboriginals” and “white people think that the Aboriginals should act like them, be like them”.

 
Right: Dujuan and his mother, Megan Hoosan. 
 

Outside of school, there is something else shown by the film that builds in Dujuan a sense that what is on offer in the dominant society, if it is for him, is extremely threatening. Juvenile detention looms large as both a real prospect and as a kind of bogeyman (along with foster care) that his family use to try to keep him in line – that is, go to school and stay at home at night. (The Yipirinya principal also uses this tactic: “You want to get locked up, with those other kids?”)

 

What Dujuan knows about detention comes in part from TV: we see him watching footage of detainee Dylan Voller, both the infamous scenes inside Aranda House of him being held down and stripped by three men (he was then a slight 13-year-old), and of him later, aged 17, in the adult gaol, where he had been transferred after the tear-gassing incident at Don Dale, shackled and hooded in a restraint chair. (We don’t see or hear of this prompting a Royal Commission nor of a subsequent considerable program of reform, however imperfect it may be.)

 

Another source of information is a young aunty who was in detention. She tells him she and three others were “starved for a week” while they were inside. This, she urges him, is why he should go to school – to avoid such a fate.

 

The film does not attempt to explore the aunty’s grave allegation. Viewers might think that it is preposterous but I note that the Royal Commission’s final report does refer to evidence of food being withdrawn in an attempt to control behaviour.  I quote (emphasis mine):

 

The Commission received a considerable body of evidence about inappropriate conduct by youth justice officers directed towards detainees. The conduct took many forms and some of it can be characterised as abuses of power and excessive forms of control and humiliation. The Commission received evidence that youth justice officers had: • subjected detainees to verbal abuse and racist remarks • exerted controlling behaviour, such as withholding necessities like food, water and the use of toilet facilities • dared detainees, or offered bribes to detainees, to carry out degrading, humiliating and/or harmful acts, or to carry out acts of physical violence on each other, and • used mobile phones in inappropriate, humiliating and potentially harmful ways.

 

The important thing, in terms of understanding Dujuan, is that he sees all this behaviour by adults as kids being “cruelled”, as “torture”. The fear it must instil, however, is not enough to change what he’s doing. Despite the loving family he has behind him – and we see his grandmother going out late at night to find him and bring him home from the streets –  he keeps courting this frightening prospect.

 

When his family decide that the only way to protect him is to send him to his father, we learn that it is five years since Dujuan has seen him.

 

Things seem to go well for him in Borroloola.  There’s another strong grandmother on the scene, a grandfather too, he goes to school, his father is enjoying his belated parenting, spending time with his son at the weekend on the family’s homeland, swimming, fishing – “it’s like a dream”, says Dujuan.

 

It is in these scenes, which come right at the end of the film, that we are given a glimpse of another important element no doubt helping tip Dujuan towards trouble back in Alice – not only his missing Dad but also, it would seem, the lack of any significant male figures.

 

On the evidence of the film, Dujuan was living in an almost entirely female world. A rather wonderful group of women they are, showing a high degree of commitment to him and to their other young people, but there must have been some men around, at the edges of his life, even if only as residents of the town camp.

 
Left: Dujuan with his grandfather Jimmy Mawson in Borroloola.
 

We know Dujuan is aware of fighting and drinking, because we hear him one day declaring that he will never drink, “not even one taste, because it’s not good for your body parts”, and that fighting too is not good, because you can make people “bleed, then run out of blood”.

 

It’s not clear exactly what has prompted this reflection but it comes in the film after we learn that an aunty has been stabbed in the leg, badly enough to be treated in ICU. This is the only acknowledgement in the film of violence in Dujuan’s world (other than the televised violence of youth justice officers).

 

There is no reference at all to drinking, other than by his mother who talks about having grown up around a lot of drinking and fighting and being expelled from school, before being sent to Borroloola which is where she met Dujuan’s father.

 

Filming at Hidden Valley is exclusively at the family’s home and immediately in front of it; otherwise the camp is shown only from a distance and even the soundtrack is discreet. For all we know, this is a quiet, peaceful neighbourhood.  I don’t want to fall into stereotypes about town camps, they undoubtedly have their strengths, but the film does not give us even a glimpse into what it is like living there, let alone a frank portrayal.

 

We learned in the Q&A that followed the screening that the film was made with a particular production structure, in which the people being represented – Dujuan and his family, including several of the senior women at Akeyulerre Inc – are copyright holders, were carefully consulted every step of the way, and had a large input into the story that was told.

 

It’s understandable, given the preponderance of negative stories and commentary about Aboriginal people in the public domain, that they may have purposefully chosen not to go into these difficult areas.

 

It may also have been politically sensitive for them (I’m thinking of local Aboriginal political sensitivities, right down to the political relationships in the town camp).

 

However, this narrows the perspective that the film offers – for a local audience in terms of understanding Dujuan and children like him (rather critical right now), and for outside audiences in terms of getting a more balanced picture of what is going on within Alice Springs, the Northern Territory and its systems.

 

This is not all pretty, far from it, but it is not given a fair representation by the film, including by its use of archival footage. I appreciate, for example, that Stolen Generation experiences are within painful living memory and have left a destructive legacy for many. But are outside audiences (meaning international, including the UN, to whom the film has already been presented) going to understand the significant changes in this area and the attempts at redress, again however imperfect?

 

The selective focus also narrows the field of action for change that the film’s production and impact team is promoting. The two goals emphasised at the screening are to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14  (Australia’s 10 is one of the lowest in the world, the Royal Commission recommended 12, but 14 is urged for all countries by the UN) and to establish schools for Aboriginal kids run by Aboriginal people. (They are fundraising for one on Dujuan’s family homeland at Sandy Bore. Aboriginal leadership was the original rationale for setting up Yipinrinya School, of course, but the film shows that this has not been sustained.)

 

Both of these goals are worthy, but they fall short of answering some of the critical questions raised by Dujuan’s story.

 
 
 

14 COMMENTS

  1. An accurate review of an important film. I could not believe, though, that that history text book was actually being used in the classroom.

  2. I can believe the outdated, cringe-worthy textbook. I spent 10 years with a Territory school housing students from remote Indigenous communities, usually in junior middle schoo,lower ability classes. I was immediately shocked,ashamed and despondent when asked to help out in a senior class of 11/12, discovering that these young men and women about to graduate, were in no better condition literacy wise than their junior mini mes.
    Standing in room as a teacher aide I felt so ashamed I wanted to cringe that I could possibly be part of the problem or failure of these kids in the development of education as the one and only cycle breaker of generational poverty, violence, abuse, incarceration, unemployment and chronic health issues etc.
    As the teacher droned on to these MEN and WOMEN in a patronising ‘Patsy Biscoe talking to Humphrey Bear’ tone about how to fill out simple forms, I looked at the incidental reading material on an old bookshelf in the room.
    Other than dumped chip packets there was some really old volumes with spines so badly worn out, they were barely staying intact. One included a tome on a very young Rolf Harris STILL on display after he had been sentenced to prison on Child Abuse charges as an old man. There was nothing in sight that would address age appropriate, interest level material for low literacy young adults. And how in the hell did they progress through to 10/11/12 STILL functionally illiterate and able to graduate/matriculate??? It’s a disgrace!
    I noticed there is a massive difference between Indigenous kids in NT and other sites of Australia. Even though outcomes still need improving across the board, NT students still carry a kind of ingrained, non questioning ‘yes boss’ attitude towards what is presented to them. They look like compliant tag dolls in class, they still have a kind of mission mentality with little spirit to question what is fed to them in comparison to elsewhere. Teachers shouldn’t present as Mrs Aeneas Gunn figures, nor should history text books written from a completely white perspective be anywhere in sight in ANY classroom anywhere in Australia.
    As a teacher aide one is powerless to intervene in a room where teachers are the official classroom managers, especially when in all conscience there were numerous individuals I would not have let anywhere near my own kids’ education had they still been at school. It is experiencing education in NT classrooms that became part of an increasing depression.
    Well done on a fair and well balanced commentary in movie review but Dujuan can’t use growing up in all female household as an excuse to behave like a feral. I raised both my boys in poverty after marriage breakdown. One is a CEO and the other an electrical engineer after growing up on a SPP, my sole influence and lousy cooking! A responsible parent – male and/or female needs to set boundaries and be consistent in their own habits and role modelling, simple as that. Kids should be at home and inside after dark with mum and dad, it’s simple. Certainty and surety in daily lives will keep kids on straight and narrow. You can’t relinquish parental responsibility to others then blame others for encouraging antisocial behaviour…
    Take command, don’t leave everything to schools to fix as it’s essentially too late to teach good behaviours and values by kindy or year one.

  3. I thank Kieran Finnane and Alice Springs News for giving us such a detailed critical analysis of what otherwise is the sad story of an Aboriginal kid growing up in our midst.
    Is it good for export? The emphasis on some aspects of life in a town camp may project an incomplete image of what is going on in real terms.
    I saw the movie at Araluen and heard the Qs and the concise As. I am familiar with the people it represents knowing personally most of them. After 35 years in Alice Springs and working with Aboriginal people, I left Larapinta Drive and adjacent Lovegrove Drive (where the large, modern, well resourced Yipirinya School is now located), going home somewhat disappointed.
    I expected some insight into the possible solutions to the problems of boredom and lack of boundaries shown by our local indigenous youth, and others too, personalized by the charismatic Dujuan of Hidden Valley jumping on car roofs.
    Definitely the primary school teacher we heard in the movie needs to be updated and inducted into Aboriginal two-way (without “s”) awareness, or at least trained on how to recover the interest of the children in her care, when a high percentage of kids in her class are Aboriginal.
    Yipirinya School itself, established with great vision 40 years ago, is now a special school for Aboriginal kids with a “white” Principal and no longer a cultural director.
    Is living a free life on the homeland – the only times we see Dujuan really happy – a holiday, or should a primary school be built there, could it assist in developing Dujuan’s capacity to contribute to a society where he may be able to acquire a house in the golf course area instead of seeing himself as one of the have-not’s? But this is not his real, deep in his blood, aspiration. However nowhere in the movie is there an utterance by the mother, grandmother, father or grandfather that self-control may yield some results. For all I know (and I know nothing) self-discipline is part of Aboriginal growing up into a man through initiation. I would have expected a hint of it as so much pride of his Aboriginality “runs in his blood”. The answers will have to come from within, in due course.
    In conclusion, a big thank you from one Maya to another (Maya Newell) for her beautiful photographic work of a harsh reality.

  4. @ Meg: Thanks for your post. The need for Aboriginal children to have their histories, identities, languages and culture taught and valued in our education system inspires In My Blood It Runs. This is a timely message for our local schools.
    I was shocked when I worked as a teacher at Yirara College to discover that Aboriginal histories, identity, languages and culture are ignored.
    The students knew almost nothing of their own history but were familiar with the white history of Australia. What could be more important to identity than knowing your own history?
    It was always my interest at Yirara to address the shortfall of Aboriginal history but it was not encouraged.
    It struck me as unbalanced that Anzac Day, commemorating mainly white wars, is so important in the Yirara calendar that staff work on that public holiday in order to accompany students to watch the march.
    By contrast there are Aboriginal heroes that could and should be celebrated.
    I found the story of Jandamarra inspirational and taught it. Jandamarra was a Bunaba resistance fighter who fought against cattlemen trying to take over his people’s country.
    His bravery is celebrated in the film Jandamarra’s War.
    This was objected to at Yirara because Jandamarra killed white people and this was considered unacceptable.
    Teaching and valuing Aboriginal histories, identities and culture also has the capacity to engage students and stimulate their learning. In place of the boring mainstream curriculum at Yirara that fails to engage students it could be an important breakthrough.

  5. Televised violence of prison officers? I think an apology might be in order after that throwaway line. I really hope you mean alleged, and I hope it is not in reference to the image shown on the Four Corners program where the conduct of all involved was investigated and found lawful and reasonable, with no charges being laid or pursued.

  6. An interesting side note about Yipirinya.
    The principal who appears in those disastrous scenes left the school at the end of 2018.
    In 2019 there was a (white) principal who worked hard to re-empower the Aboriginal families, especially those from town camps and outstations.
    He built great relationships with kids and families.
    He was sacked before the year was over by a board dominated by middle-class urban Aboriginal people who did not like the change of direction and feared their power was being eroded.
    It is not just whitefellas keeping these kids down.

  7. You mentioned that internationals may not be able to understand the film, the attempts at redress that have been made and the complexities of the situation. However, as an international from abroad who has recently moved to Australia I was easily able to understand the film and found it quite eye opening and informative as I learned about the conditions and racism that these children face. The film clearly shows that one of the schools was set up due the community itself protesting, but that due to education laws and time it has become less suitable and the catered toward Indigenous children.
    You also make it seem as if him receiving breakfast at school and the poverty he lives in is ‘not that bad’ but that is where the problem arises. The school shouldn’t have to provide food for children because they can’t get any at home. There is no promise of the school providing other meals. All homes should constantly have power. Belittling the poverty that some have to live in does not make it okay and is an easy way to ignore the problem rather than listening, learning and working toward solutions.

  8. @RalphFolds There are a lot of troubled Aboriginal kids in central Australia. If these young people could learn about their own histories… celebrating their own cultural practices…, language, music, art, tt would encourage a sense of pride in their identities as Aboriginals. This would foster social cohesion. Shame on Yirara for ignoring the importance of Aboriginal identity.

  9. Discipline is required, that does not mean punitive measures dealt by the Judiciary as per the law albeit necessary when required, but that of a functional family unit. Teaching kids their boundaries so that when they enter society they have the social skills to participate harmoniously.
    Functional Aboriginal families are the Key.
    It is this group of Aboriginal people that we need to lead as role models to influence those Aboriginal families that are not disciplining their kids. If not, the end result is dysfunctional kids and then adults in the revolving legal doors for the rest of their lives and a huge cost to you both fiscally and socially.
    It is a very sad indictment on our society as those fudgels who have a vested interest in the status quo or some opposing view to those who built this country espouse argle bargle. The last election established what the Prime Minister coined, ‘the quiet Australians’, those Australians that are too busy building a great Australia to participate in contemporary discourse via a 24/7 media. We are now seeing the demise of fake news and political correctness which is a good thing for all Australians, frank and balanced views should not be discounted by a minority whose actions are not in accordance with Democracy.
    We are now seeing Labor sit up and listen federally as they did not at the last Federal election and lost what they felt was fait accompli. Fake news and political correctness wrecked Labor and Mr Shorten, though self-inflicted. It is now only a matter of time before we establish what our forebears taught us from time immemorial, that humanity does not change, we all think, have emotions and act as per our social and academic education. Therefore, we need to instil by family social discipline that enables all in society to live harmoniously.
    Do not be in any illusion that government can resolve the issue of Aboriginal societal dysfunction alone, it cannot, otherwise this would have been resolved long ago. It holds the line at best with its main lever primarily the Police and the Judiciary afterwards, which I hope can better understand that it has been left to them to educate Aboriginal children and adults, something that their parents should have done.
    I have seen Magistrates struggle in sentencing knowing that a prison sentence can initiate a career of crime and dysfunction by ill education through incarceration. This is not the fault of the Prison system rather it comes back to dysfunctional Aboriginal families and the failed upbringing or lack of discipline in those families. In any case the law is there to protect the majority of law-abiding citizens and Magistrates can only use the tools given to them, as they attempt to balance the scales of justice.
    If legislation was passed promulgating greater responsibility to the Parents in these rulings, would this not be an avenue to send a message that parenting is not just bearing kids but a real responsibility as the majority undertakes. That recalcitrant parents be penalised as part of their charge’s crimes? This may well induce better parenting and end the travesty of those who perpetuate their kids who kick in Todd Mall business shop fronts and or smash your cars windows and steal it and worse.
    I call on all functional good Aboriginal people to lead by example and we the broader community to stand with you.

  10. @Local1. The “televised violence” I refer to is indeed the scene described earlier in the article, occurring at Aranda House in December 2010, when Dylan Voller was 13 years old. The guard who physically restrained Voller in this scene was charged with aggravated assault and he was acquitted. That decision was appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the appeal was dismissed. I reported in detail on this case in July 2016, ‘Actions of guard found to ensure “safety of Dylan Voller”’.
    I stand by what I wrote at the time, that the acquittal “will not answer all of the questions the public have about this incident, including the non-legal question of whether this is any way to deal with a troubled youth no matter how provoking his behaviour”.
    In the film review above, I use the term violence in its everyday meaning.

  11. Kieran, Thank you for your ongoing attention to detail and tying threads through the interwoven elements and incidents of this place, your commitment to journalism is an asset to the Alice Springs News readership.
    .
    I think your review of In My Blood it Runs is fundamentally flawed. The film was not there for ‘us’ – you and me. It was not there to satisfy our demand for insight or our desire to understand. It was there to put the voice of a 10 year old Arrernte boy, someone who is constantly on the fringes – politically, economically, socially – in the centre. It was a space for him and his family to draw a circle and stand in it. We were there to give them that space. As an audience, we were not there to take, we were there to give. To listen, to hear, and if we were inclined, to feel.
    .
    In My Blood it Runs was an incredibly generous and honest account of Dujuan’s life. The direction and editing didn’t apply hollywood gusto or manipulative musical cues, it gently and openly gave ‘us’ – the new settlers of this place – an opportunity to suspend our dominant view of the world, the one we are allowed to look through everyday without question. I think it says a lot about the settler community here that the main messages that the family wanted us to hear was that they love their children. Are we, the parents of this town, really allowed to question that?
    .
    Someone asked me if the film left me with a sense of hope. No, but again, that’s not what the film was for. But seeing Dujuan and his family on stage afterwards. To see him feeling proud and with the confidence to speak to a room full to the brim, that’s what happens when those with the ability, move to embrace and centre those on the fringes. That gives me hope – because we can do that. He would have made any parent proud.

  12. Has no-one thought to question why a teacher may use a textbook from another “era” in a history lesson?
    It is very easy to take a snippet out of hours of classroom teaching to support a desired agenda, at the expense of caring professionals.
    I challenge the director to make public the full context of that history lesson, which places our short “white” presence in this land into its place in the long, and mostly ignored, local history.
    The director intentionally omits what actually promotes what she says she stands for.
    All those working to further the recognition and strength of Indigenous culture in this land need support and greater attention, but please be honest.

  13. @ Elliat Rich: My review clearly accepts that Dujuan’s family love him. It gives space to his voice, both with direct quotes and an account of some of his experiences. He impressed me and touched me. And I feel strongly hopeful for him, given his many qualities and especially as his family seem to have found a way to help him stay safe and thrive.
    However, the film asks more of its audience than empathetic and grateful witnessing. The campaign around it, which calls for specific ameliorating actions to some of the situations we see exposed in the film, makes that clear.
    Even without it though, it would be a rather insouciant viewer, especially if they lived in Alice Springs, who would leave the cinema without wanting to think about what can be better done to support Dujuan and children like him. What changes might that require, in the schools, in the justice system, and more broadly, on the streets, in our neighbourhoods, in our families and our social relationships, in our politics?
    My review argues that the film, for all its merits, avoids dealing with some parts of the picture that would be necessary to progress this thinking – important for the town right now, all of us, and most of all the children.

  14. What is the point of this film? Is it another feel sorry story for me because I am Aboriginal?
    Are we really serious that blaming the education system is valid in the Aboriginal context?
    At the end of the day we must face reality or the Aboriginal people will become a vague people who have no chance of success in the digital age of globalisation.
    I say this because while all other people around the world – Chinese, Americans, Australians, Europeans and Africans – are forging forward with education to be relevant in the future economy and therefore creating a future for themselves and their kids.
    Yet in Aboriginal Australia we have bent over backwards in providing tax payer funded first class schools in remote and regional Australia, with it simply a waste of precious resources by Aboriginal people living there.
    The appalling response from Aboriginal people is they that are recalcitrant and simply do not ensure their kids attend school and obtain the chance to rise from abject poverty.
    That the digital age and globalisation is being able to text in some form to each other via a mobile phone?
    To end this farce and give these kids a real chance in a real world some hard questions must be asked of Aboriginal people and how they neglect their kids in too many ways such as their education and where are they at night?
    Government cannot be blamed for such neglect, that is just creating a smoke screen and being complicit to the whole ugly scene of Aboriginal dysfunction including the abuse of the kids.
    Social pressure must be applied especially by functional Aboriginal parents in particular to stop the abuse of Aboriginal kids by their dysfunctional parents, who themselves in too many accounts are illiterate and innumerate.
    Are you able to face the truth and put the blame where it will do most good for these kids?
    Such as a daily register of all remote community schools of attendance, with no late attendance permitted and published on the internet for all the public to see, creating a real world discussion on this issue of Aboriginal waste of educational resources. Let the debate then do good for Aboriginal kids and their education.
    If not then these kids are doomed until a depression or other socio economic change forces us to the reality of life in the digital age.
    No education means a low standard of living.

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