First Nations

The First Nations Advisory Board provides advice based on the perspective of indigenous people in multiple countries. What issues are particularly important for enhancing the safety and wellbeing of children locally? How can children best maintain their traditional family and cultural connections? What are the best ways for dealing with families who separate and those at risk of family violence, in all its forms?

In Australia, for instance, the inter-generational consequences of the forced removal of young, indigenous Australians from their parents, families and culture for generations live on in communities throughout the country.

“The Intervention”, as it was called, of 2007, which saw troops roll into many communities in the Northern Territory, did nothing to improve trust and confidence in government and, by further disempowering both indigenous Australians and local professionals working with them, left further scars.

To this day, many Aboriginal Australians are scared of approaching Government agencies, particularly departments of Child Protection, for fear of extreme and disproportionate responses, including the removal of their children. It is a concern to many that an alarming number of Aboriginal children today are living apart from their parents or family.

Chair: Rene Kulitja, Australia

Rene is a First Nations elder from Kulpitjara, Ernabella, Armata and Mutitjulu in central Australia. She is an internationally acclaimed artist whose designs have travelled the world on canvas and other media, including the exterior of a Qantas aeroplane. She is passionate about the wellbeing and cultural inheritance of the young people in the communities in which she lives and travels frequently as an ambassador for Anangu culture from central Australia.