Monthly Archives: March 2018

Best care is respect for culture

Why would a nurse not want to give the best possible care to a patient in their care? I’ve been wondering about this since a nurses group have said that cultural safety is anti white.  The code, released this week, is basically standardising the codes of practice used around the country already. It is saying that instead of just a suggestion that it should be standard. No problem one would think, surely it makes sense to respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customs and beliefs? It’s no different to respecting the cultural mores of the Muslim and Jewish people. It’s no different to respecting the rules of the Seventh Day Adventist or the Mormon faith.

Nurses respect people from other countries and if they need interpreters they call for them to ask a patient what is needed, what can be done to help them. Surely any reasonable person can see that. But no, the NPAQ have painted this as a racism issue. This group, that I must emphasise is not a union, claimed that nurses would have to apologise for their white privilege to any Indigenous patient.  They claim nurses will leave the profession. If this means a nurse quits, well then, good. We don’t want racist nurses being in charge of our pain relief.

Racism isn’t just a mental health problem, it’s a physical one. How do you heal if you are not getting pain relief, because a nurse or doctor thinks you are a drug addict. The is just one issue, imagine being completely ignored by the nurse because of your race, it happens too often. My people face racism all the time, but when in hospital you are not up to fighting for your basic humanity to be recognised.

Cultural Safety is not a white against black issue, it certainly isn’t anti-white by any stretch, I don’t know how a person can turn a matter of simple respect into a racist question.  A group like the NPAQ is another loud voice that encourages racism, that encourages the lies and stereotypes that my people have been fighting against since Cook landed.

Read the full Code and you will see that, the NPAQ is lying to gain members, pitting black against white.

I had a nurse ask me on Monday, if i wanted an apology before she gives care and she admitted she didn’t know much about it, just that Peta Credlin was talking about it. I wouldn’t trust anything Peta says about nursing, she isn’t a nurse, I recommended the questioner read a brilliant article by Janine Mohamed for IndigenousX. She read it and came back and said it was a lot of fuss about nothing. Why wouldn’t a nurse want to do all they can to help a patient.

As a patient, I want my nurses and doctors to be respectful of my culture and my illness. Racism affects mental health and physical health, how to you heal from a surgery if you are writhing in agony because a medical professional won’t give you pain relief, because they believe Aboriginal people have a different pain threshold.  How do you sleep in a hospital when you can hear nurses saying racist things about Indigenous people. How do you get treatment when you are fobbed off as a drug user. Racism is a huge problem and if we have Cultural Safety written into codes it not only benefits Indigenous Peoples wellness, it breaks down the barriers. A bit of understanding of original culture of this land is something that should be standard and should start from school and continue through life.

I have simplified the issues here, but I am more focused on the patient who has to fight for their dignity.

We Had Feminism Long Before White People Came

I Can and I Did.

I was at the ‘Black Bold and Beautiful’ yesterday, surrounded by incredible Indigenous women. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are today. Women who lived under the mission regime, women who survived and thrived from the forceful removal and government regulations.

These women and my Elders are keeping our Culture alive. In our Culture women weren’t second class citizens. Aboriginal women were equal to men. Our women were the keepers of women’s knowledge. This knowledge was not just being in charge of children and the house. Women ran the community. Our female Elders were power keepers, they were not inferior, they stood side by side with our male Elders.

The patriarchal system came to this country with white people. The Europeans that came here were male dominated, women were Chattels not equals. Our way of life was diminished. White men would not deal with our women, to them women being leaders was an alien thought. They treated our Elders with disdain, they looked upon our women as sexual objects and as house slaves.

No respect was given to our women by the invaders. They pushed their system on us, with guns and bibles, they did this so well that we started to believe some of their lies and our women started to be treated bad by our own men. Our men who were supposed to respect us and treat us as equals saw us as objects. Our Women’s business was stopped and shunned, our privacy and our bodies and their functions became something that men interfered with.

Yes our men were treated bad by the invaders and had their humanity striped away, but the invaders taught our men to treat our women as even less than themselves. White men treated women as property and that was taught to our men to do to us.  The bible was used to teach us that women held all evil, that we are to suffer for Eve’s sin for eternity. This goes against our beliefs, that we are equal and men and women are responsible for keeping our society running.

Many of our ways became hidden and passed down in secret, turning much into a shame factor. I grew up with very strong women leading my family. My mother and Aunties were the head of our mob. Their word was law.  Not one of my male relations was held up as being better or separate from the females, they all, from uncles to sons and nephews had to do the so-called women’s work.

As we are gaining more confidence in ourselves after being kept down, we are bringing our hidden culture out of the dark and to the forefront of our lives, we are not just running feminist households, raising boys to treat women with respect, but to treat them as equals, we are bringing it to our organisations. We are fighting against the white belief that men should be running our organisations.

Our women are strong, but we had forgotten how strong we are. Our women were feminists long before the bra burning. We were the original feminists. Our women stood side by side with our men as equals. Our women are the backbone of our spirituality and our society.