Wild wallaby, bush turkey and goose killed by Aboriginal hunters is being served up in a nursing home in Australia's Northern Territory. It's the result of a project in Katherine....which encourages homeless Aborigines to hunt . Iskhandar Razak joined the group on one of their recent hunting trips. Presenter: Iskhandar RazakSpeaker: Strongbala activities coordinator, Leonard Croll Strongbala coordinator Phil Richards; Reverend Mitch Fialkowski; Dora Robertson
This is very cool. When I was a reference librarian at the NSW Department of Health, I did a lot of research relating to Aboriginal health initiatives, trying to find ways to improve the desperate situation for so many communities.
One of the common themes that always emerged was the projects that worked were those that balanced the base culture of Aboriginal people - a family-oriented, nomadic culture with very strong ties to the land itself for food, medicine, and spirituality - with the Western culture - friend-oriented, sedentary, and with ties to institutions for food, medicine, and spirituality. Telling an Aboriginal group "take this pill, eat this food, and it'll all be ok" just doesn't work. The resources have to come from a source they, personally, trust - their own elders, their own land, their own plants, their own hands and feet.
Some time ago, a booklet to help combat diabetes in Aboriginal populations was published: Bush tucker in kidney failure and diabetes, by Lesley Salem. I see it as part of the same thinking - bring the original diet back to those groups most at risk of the worst part of the Westernised diet, and thereby improving health and self-esteem by being brought back in touch with their own culture, even in a small way.
Mind you, quite a lot of Westerners could probably benefit from a bit of hunter/gathering as well ...