Narrative gatherings – an Aboriginal invention

Narrative gatherings: An Aboriginal invention

Tileah Drahm-Butler

Tim Agius

Tim Agius tells the story of the first narrative gathering: Reclaiming our stories, reclaiming our lives – a gathering for Aboriginal families who  had lost a loved one to a death in custody.

Further gatherings

After the first narrative gathering at Camp Coorong, further gatherings took place in other communities:

Click here to read about the Narrandera Koori Community Gathering

Sharing stories between communities

In recent years, narrative practice has been used to assist communities who are going through hard times to share their stories to assist other communities who are also struggling. This can bring a sense of pride in the midst of struggle.

Click here to read the article about sharing stories between communities

Yia Marra: Good stories that keep spirits strong

You can read here stories from Ntaria community – Yia Marra: Good stories that keep spirits strong.

Click here to read Yia Marra

Aunty Barbara Wingard

Every story is precious

A reflection from Tileah

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. It was very powerful Listening to Tim Agius describe the way that aboriginal families were supported in determining what they wanted to discuss at the first narrative gathering, ‘Reclaiming our stories, Reclaiming our Lives’, and how this contributed to families feeling like they were being heard and honoured; it demonstrated how important it is to elevate client voices and how effective this approach is for supporting recovery.

  2. thank you so much for making all of this wisdom available for free I really appreciate it. As a non Aboriginal worker in a community led organisation, I will make sure I consult with the relevant people as a result of this training to see where it may add to my practice in a culturally appropriate way.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with Aunty Barbara with regard to the beauty of Narrative Therapy not hurrying a person when they are sharing a story. I have noticed too many counsellors hurrying a person when they are discussing an important experience.

  4. I really enjoyed the reference to Sharon Welch who spoke of creating a ‘heritage of resistance’. This idea makes more visible some of the social justice ideology attributable to the retellings. It’s the collective re-authoring of identities that are magnified in such a way that they transcend time. The significance of which is profound.

  5. Community gatherings is a “common unity”, and “com” for comunication. The community gatherings is the imparting or exchanging of information so as the community can be on the same page with each other. This helps identify problems and than find solutions. The Narrandera Koori Community Gathering document mentions, “Now we don’t have the same opportunities for get-togethers”, “These days people stay at home in their lounges enjoying their stereos, televisions, video recorders, and video games, and don’t mix so much with others.” For me this suggest an “escape from reality”, but then we have Facebook, which is a digital community, that connects everybody but its still a digital world where we don’t come face-to-face with people. The Narrandera Koori Community Gathering document was written in 2002 so Facebook was not around than. In this new digital world, where are Aboriginal communities gatherings at, in 2019? Statistically, there are higher Aboriginal suicides and higher mental health problems than the rest of the community. However, I digress, I loved the idea of the “listening team” to listen and than retell the stories. This gave the community gatherings a stronger and richer “innerstanding” (understanding) of what is going on in the community. Metaphorically, its like holder a magnifing glass to an ant to see the unseen details that you know are there but just need some help in seeing it. The listening team is a powerful reflection tool for the collective group.

  6. The power of connection to self and others and the acceptance of difference that accompanies this which is captured so well in times of grief and draws so beautifully on our strengths. What is not to love about this type of work.

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