Empowering Elders

Empowering Elders

Communities should feel free to contemplate creative solutions, and not passively accept that what has been imposed or handed to them are automatically the wisest solutions.

The ATSIC voting system resulted in almost complete disenfranchisement of the more traditional elders, in favour of more literate, but not necessarily wiser people. Some elders gradually lost credibility within their own communities. This has been suggested to contribute to community problems, including physical, sexual and substance abuse, through loss of respect for acknowledged and recognised wisdom leadership.

If communities wish to re-empower their elders they could, for instance, empower them to be like an upper house, to review council decisions. A council of elders could be formed with all sorts of useful and helpful responsibilities. As a functioning group, they could do much to lift communities out of the malaise of disempowerment. Such arrangements can be internal to the community, and not intrude upon or interfere with external obligations.

Current Attempts to redress many problems at Wadeye involve engaging elders in an over- siting capacity.

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