Gurranyin Borinya (on eagles wings): effecting change for Koorie youth

Bamblett, E 2010, Gurranyin Borinya (on eagles wings): effecting change for Koorie youth, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Bamblett.pdf Thesis Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf;... 62.42MB
Daisy_Chain.pdf Stage play application/pdf 362.97KB
tunno.pdf Stage play application/pdf 230.91KB
Title Gurranyin Borinya (on eagles wings): effecting change for Koorie youth
Author(s) Bamblett, E
Year 2010
Abstract This exegesis is an exploration of Koorie identity. It includes an overview of the first definitions of Koorie identity, as constructed by Government during the 1800s based on blood quantum. These definitions were used to inform policies and practices that led to the dispossession of country and dispersal of Aboriginal people; the removal of children and the fracturing of Aboriginal families, communities and societies. A review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander definitions of identity however, reveals a marked difference from non-Aboriginal definitions because of the inclusion of genetic inheritance, kinship and country.

Non-Aboriginal definitions based on blood quantum continued until the 1970s when they changed to include not only genetic inheritance but self and community identification as well.

In the research project, the slippery and multiple nature of identity became apparent, leading me to conclude that identity for Koories is similarly complex. I determined that four key factors contribute to a person identifying as a Koorie including race/genetic inheritance, culture and kinship, historical experience, and Aboriginality itself.

Government constructed definitions which are accepted by the wider community have led to challenges for Koories as they struggle for identity because they are sometimes positioned as not really Aboriginal as an effect of these. Young people’s struggles over identity have been caused by the impact of invasion and colonization which has resulted in cultural alienation, dispossession from country, racism, and trans-generational trauma.

Little research has been conducted around the struggles for identity experienced by Victorian Koorie youth. This is despite the fact that the existence of inequalities is clearly documented as is the disadvantage that flows from these inequalities including low education levels, high unemployment rates, high child protection rates and, high juvenile justice and incarceration rates.

The intent of this research project has also been to contribute to Indigenous research methodologies and epistemologies. In the project I have used qualitative research methods that are in turn informed by Indigenous ways of knowing/methodologies. I have used a Victorian Indigenous research methodology with five qualitative Indigenous methods, Ngarri-story, Nyembera-waiting, Boonyabuk-connecting, Wanga-listening and Nangak-seeing. The elaboration of these methods constitutes a major outcome of this project.

The project has been both exploratory and explanatory and as well as the exegesis, it includes the development, accreditation and evaluation of the Gurranyin Borinya Cultural Enrichment Kit and the screenplay Tunno.

The products that comprise this project have been developed to broaden knowledge and awareness about Aboriginal histories and cultural heritage; enhance understanding about Aboriginality; strengthen identity, and provide strategies to support and enable young people to realize their creative abilities and develop a vision for their future.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Keyword(s) Koorie
identity
culture
kinship
alienation
dispossession
racism
Aboriginality
Ngarri
nyembera
Boonyabuk
wanga
nangak
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