Aboriginal women from Alice Springs gather for some Straight Talking

Campaigns and Advocacy, Indigenous Affairs, Media Releases, News article written on the 08 Nov 2013

Aboriginal women from Alice Springs will converge at Ross River Resort from this Sunday for a Straight Talk gathering that aims to give them a stronger voice and strengthen their skills to bring positive changes to their communities.

The event, from Sunday 10 November to Tuesday 12 November, is one of a number of regional gatherings throughout the country aimed at developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s skills to make positive changes through learning how to engage with the political system.

Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Program Manager Karrina Nolan said Straight Talk, now in its fifth year, had worked with more than 350 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from throughout the country.

She said that as well as teaching women how they can better access their political representatives, Straight Talk provided an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences with each other and work together to develop strategies to address common issues.

“Straight Talk has come from a belief that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters around the country must be a part of the politics that impacts our daily lives,” Ms Nolan said.

“It comes from a commitment to engage, support, empower and skill our mob to put forward the solutions and ideas we already have to solve our own problems.  It’s critical that we have a strong voice in the decisions that affect our lives.”

On Monday, the 28 participants also will hear about ‘women making change’ from Heather Kamarra Shearer, who has worked for more than 35 years in the Stolen Generations movement, and Barbara Shaw, a founder of the Intervention Rollback Action Group and the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance.

Alice Springs participant, sexual health program coordinator Donna Lemon, who also attended a Straight Talk summit in Canberra in June, said she was looking forward to a ‘healing opportunity for a lot of people’ at the gathering next week.

A single mother, Ms Lemon took the decision to give up alcohol four months ago so she could be healthier for her children’s sake.

“Straight Talk teaches you how to speak up, and how to do it strategically,” Ms Lemon said.

“There’s a difference between doing the right thing and doing things right – Straight Talk teaches about both.

“It will give the women confidence and boost their self-esteem, and provide an opportunity for them to explore their issues as a collective.”

For interviews, please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au