This Child Protection Week, Gangalidda Traditional Owner Barry Walden and Act for Kids are releasing a special documentary – The Story of Dumaji – ‘Kids in Culture.’
The documentary is an insightful look into the small remote community of Dumaji (Doomadgee) in Far North Queensland and highlights the critical importance of Aboriginal kids remaining connected to their culture.
For far too long Australia has lacked a coordinated effort and culturally appropriate response to address the increasing number of Indigenous children in care in each state and territory.
Sadly, there were 19,400 Indigenous children in out-of-home care as at June 2022. This is 12 times higher than the rate of non-Indigenous children in Australia.
“Unfortunately, we see a lot of children being removed because the system thinks that they have nowhere to go, no one to stay with. However, in Aboriginal culture a child can be looked after and protected by all structures of the family. The authority sits with the grandparents, not necessarily the biological mother or father,” Gangalidda Traditional Owner Barry Walden explained.
The ‘Kids in Culture’ story hears about the detrimental impact removing an Aboriginal child from their culture can have on their life, including their cultural identity and losing their sense of belonging.
The documentary also empowers the voices of Aboriginal children who share their incredible connection to country.
From left to right: Gangalidda Traditional Owner Barry Walden, Dr Katrina Lines, Kieran Smith and Jess Mumme.
“I’ve seen it so many times, kids and families get torn apart and if you’re lucky enough your child comes but this can also lead to more trauma as they often struggle to reintegrate back into community because they don’t understand the language, cultural lore or practices,” he said.
Act for Kids strongly believes working with First Nations people is crucial to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children receive culturally appropriate support and where possible can remain connected to their culture and community to ensure positive lifelong outcomes.
“There is a real lack of understanding when it comes to Aboriginal family structures, which is built around a collective kinship system. The documentary highlights the vital importance of cultural identity for Aboriginal children and how difficult it can be to regain their identity after they’ve been removed from community,” explained Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids CEO.
“You need to build kin. Kin is a product of good relationships, when you build kin, regardless of where you’re from or what colour you are, that can help to protect your child,” Mr Walden said.
“We know when the right cultural processes are followed there are better long-term outcomes for Aboriginal children,” said Dr Lines.
Act for Kids has been delivering services in a proud partnership with First Nations people in Dumaji since 2008.
To watch the “The story of Dumaji- Kids in Culture” documentary please head to:
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For interview opportunities, please contact Jess:
M: 0427 794 666
Some photos from the premiere screening held on Thursday 7 September 2023.