Mothering film highlights importance of culture in Aboriginal communities

August 7, 2015

Professor Rhonda Marriott has been researching Aboriginal parenting in Roebourne

Professor Rhonda Marriott has been researching Aboriginal parenting in Roebourne

A film about Aboriginal parenting produced as a result of research funded by the Australian Research Council into the health and wellbeing of women and children in Roebourne will be screened at Murdoch University for the first time on August 7.

Professor Rhonda Marriott and her Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing TripleWrap Research Team worked with Lorraine Coppin from the Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation and Tangiora Hinaki from Kick Up Dust Productions to produce the film which involved more than 60 Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Aboriginal mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers and young girls.

The documentary-style film, entitled Mothering: Valuing Ngaarda Ways explores the significance of culture and family to parenting and grandparenting in a regional community; and the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers and grandmothers.

Professor Marriott and her team have been working with the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma people and local agencies in Roebourne since 2011 to create locally responsive programs that aim to contribute to the social and emotional wellbeing of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, infants and young children.

The mothering film is one of the key outcomes of the research and following the screening, DVD copies will be distributed to educational and health services so that it can be screened in many more communities and among staff in relevant agencies.

“The film will provide a focus for positive community discussions on the strengths of culture in Aboriginal families and how services can better support families in parenting,” said Professor Marriott.

“Importantly, the film features participants speaking of the complexity of parenting and how this can be further compounded by a lack of access to culturally supportive services.”

Professor Marriott said they were excited to be launching the film at Murdoch University and sharing it with Aboriginal community members and services.

“We have selected the week of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day for the launch of the film because it is the largest national day to celebrate our children and for all to learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the lives of Aboriginal children,” Professor Marriott said.

“This years’ theme is helping our kids stand tall and feel connected and proud in culture so what better week for us to launch our film and to celebrate the similarities of diverse Aboriginal cultures for strong families; and the contemporary needs of regional and urban Aboriginal parents and their families to raise strong and healthy children.”

The film screening will take place in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre from 12.30pm on Friday, August 7. It will be attended by invited Aboriginal community members from Roebourne and Perth, elders, service providers and researchers from the project. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, including questions from the audience, on the strengths of culture and Aboriginal families and how services can better support families in parenting.

The film was funded by an Australian Research Council’s Discovery Indigenous grant and supported by CREAHW at the Telethon Kids Institute, the University of Western Australia, the Nursing and Midwifery Office at the Health Department of WA, The Western Australian Nurses Memorial Charitable Trust, the Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation, the City of Karratha and Murdoch University. The screening event and DVD costs have been funded by the Department of Health’s Nursing and Midwifery Office, Aboriginal Health and Murdoch University.

A final report on the project, featuring key findings and recommendations will be made public later in the year.

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