7.0 Stakeholder mapping

Connecting our issues and stakeholders went like most other ‘butchers paper’ sessions went. Laura and I threw down as much content as we could in a matter that was free and flowing. By this stage, we have both established our main personal focal points for the issue. She’s associating herself with Aboriginal rights and relations within current day Australian society, whereas i’ve focused myself on the Aboriginal history of The Dreaming, and the Cosmology and philosophies underpinning system.

These maps tend to lean more toward Aboriginal issues adn stakeholders in modern society, as opposed to The Dreaming, however that in a sense illustrates the problem I’m attempting to address. That is, a lack of knowledge and education in Aboriginal history, (not to be confused with the history of Aboriginal people under commonwealth rule).

Connecting these stakeholders with Laura solidified some notions I’d been reflecting on since my data scrapes. That is, the media holds a great deal more power in moulding public opinion on Aboriginal matters than I was first aware of. Almost all of the news we receive on Aboriginal people, essentially  go through this filter of media. They control what we see. Due in large part to the fact that we have little other sources in our day to day lives. NAIDOC week is only once a year, and festivals like Garma are small and extremely localised. Schools and school curriculum do a poor job of teaching us proper Aboriginal history, and essentially fail in planting the seed of interest that motivates us to research things later on, for ourselves.

These maps revealed, that even when a platform is given to an esteemed Aboriginal figure, or pertinent Aboriginal issue, that it is immediately muddied by this ratings fuelled rush for counter opinions and often invalid alternate assessments. This perfectly reflects the difficulty faced by Aboriginal Elders in discussing or attempting to explain their spiritual past. It all goes through a filter of interpretation.  As Christine Nicholls explains in her introduction to the dreaming,

Unfortunately, since colonisation, this multiplicity of semantically rich, metaphysical word-concepts framing the epistemological, cosmological and ontological frameworks unique to Australian Aboriginal people’s systems of religious belief have been uniformly debased and dumbed-down”

Essentially, we do a similar thing with our media. Take a diverse and richly expansive culture, compress and compress and compress and compress it down to a few single issues, and frame it all into a single repetitive monologue of land rights, juvenile detention, remote aboriginal communities and general discrimination.

The issues may change with time, however the formula remains. Aboriginal culture gets stamped on and dumbed down by Australian media, which is consumed in great volume by the general public, thus continually driving the wheels in mis-education and intolerance.

Some interesting statistics from the creativespirits.info website.

9%  Proportion of Aboriginal people who believe the media presents a balanced view of Aboriginal Australians [1]

74% – Surveyed proportion of articles about Aboriginal health that were negative; that were neutral: 11%; that were positive: 15% [2].

81Page out of a total of 84 pages on which the Sun Herald reported about “critically endangered” Aboriginal languages [3].

16%  Proportion of non-Aboriginal Australians who believe the media presents a balanced view of Aboriginal people [1].

Interestingly, we somewhat see the problem in the situation, we just failure to act on it. I believe the problem is buried somewhere inside a proper understanding, and consequently appreciation for richness of Aboriginal history.


[1] Reconciliation Barometer 2010, Key Findings Fact Sheet
[2] ‘Portraying Positive Stories In Aboriginal Health’, Right Now 15/9/2014
[3] ‘Light is fading for indigenous languages’, Sun Herald 23/9/2012