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Alice Springs Organisations Endorsed by Rod

Several organisations cited in Rod's work continue to flourish, and these are all ones that he endorses as their work is Aboriginal driven, or focused. These organisations make tangible differences to the local families cut(here) in Central Australia. Akeyulerre Healing Centre and and Ampe-Kenhe Ahelhe Children’s Ground are, in particular, magnificent achievements, for they are organised and/or run by the local Arrernte. The nurturing of cultural knowledge and sharing of values is their basis. The literature produced by both operations deserves wide readership.

 

Akeyulerre Healing Centre

Akeyulerre Healing Centre, owned and operated by Arrernte people, was set up in Mparntwe/Alice Springs in Central Australia by Arrernte elders to support and strengthen Arrernte culture and community. Rephrased Akeyulerre keeps language and culture strong. The families and Arrernte communities make bush remedies from materials sourced from field trips. Traditional healing songs are maintained.

Rod has been on many bush trips with the Healing Centre, and has seen how their seasonal trips help support the families to keep strong ties with country. Akeyulerre has published Arrente texts, and helps to run educational activities and they do much needed cultural consultancy work.

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Ampe-Kenhe Ahelhe Children’s Ground

Children’s Ground is an evidenced-based approach, designed with First Nations leaders to achieve radical reform. It is an educational model that would prove adaptable far beyond central Australia and its indigenous clients, especially so in these environmentally fraught times. 'It literally starts on the ground,' says Rod. 'By that I mean the focus is on plant and animal life that are dependant on specific seasonal events and locations. This is how meaning is made, how all of us make sense of where we are; a grounding in place.'

 

Arrernte drive this program with non-indigenous support. It could not be otherwise as only the elders have the local knowledge. Given Alice Springs demographic shows an increasing proportion of indigenous children, Rod explains that he, 'Only hopes Ampe-Kenhe Ahelhe’s 25 year vision can further deepen and stretch its roots and add confidence to developing youngsters. The elders guiding the program have been the beneficiaries of the catholic education system they received at Santa Teresa prior to welfare. The need to pass on cultural knowledge is balanced with mainstream literacy and numeracy required to handle the wage economy. Hopefully this two way learning might inspire incentives to be free of the welfare dependency that has left a generation with little motivation or need to work for wages. This is a positive response to the erosion of their society as I’ve observed it. The tide of handouts, given with kindness in mind, has led young people and children in particular, into a meaningless life, riddled by sickness, disease, poverty, illiteracy, inadequacy, disempowerment; a sterile life that consequentially leads them into anti-social attitudes, addictive behavioural patterns, hopelessness, welfare dependence and what can only be called subsidised crime.

Rod has observed first hand the engagement with both traditional culture, country, and 'white' literacy that Children's Ground generate. 

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IAD Press

IAD Press is an in-house printing service producing curricula for language classes at the Institute for Aboriginal Development. They have grown over the past fifty years into a professional publishing house with a catalogue that includes:
 

  • Aboriginal language dictionaries and learner’s guides

  • Oral histories relating to land and culture

  • Books for children and young adults

  • Fiction, poetry and short stories

  • Books on Aboriginal art

  • Historical biographies

  • Natural histories
     

IAD Press is committed to representing an authentic Aboriginal perspective. To ensure cultural integrity we have a highly consultative process that includes authors, contributors, and representatives of their language group or community. They have published several brilliant and enlightening books authored by senior Arrernte women this recent decade. By popular demand the Central and Eastern Arrernte dictionary has been reprinted in 2021.

 

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Red Kangaroo Books

Rod would like to flag Red Kangaroo Book’s increased representation of our indigenous authors during the decade. The existence of this modest body of literature builds indigenous self-worth while acknowledging the continuing need for bi-lingual fluency.

Red Kanagroo Books is the only bricks-and-mortar independent bookshop still standing in Australia between Port Augusta, Darwin, Broome, and Broken Hill. Their focus is Central Australia, with a huge array of books —fiction and non-fiction—from the region. They cover the history of Central Australia, as well as a large selection of books about the arts, regional flora and fauna, geology, and travel.

Red Kangaroo Books has a critical role in promoting books by and about Aboriginal Australians, their art, culture, history, and storytelling. While Australia is largely thought of as a monolingual, English speaking, country, this is certainly not the case for their store, with its extensive collections of work in a variety of Aboriginal languages such as Arrernte, Pitjantjatjara, Pintupi-Luritja, Warlpiri—the list goes on.

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