Building family ties

Professor Rhonda Marriott. |Picture: Martin Kennealey d428462
Professor Rhonda Marriott. |Picture: Martin Kennealey d428462

A FILM about Aboriginal parenting, produced as a result of research into the health and wellbeing of women and children in Roebourne, was screened at Murdoch University for the first time last week.

Professor Rhonda Marriott and her Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing TripleWrap research team worked with Lorraine Coppin from the Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation and Tangiora Hinaki from Kick Up Dust Productions to produce the film, which involved more than 60 Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Aboriginal mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers and young girls.

The documentary-style film, entitled Mothering: Valuing Ngaarda Ways, explores the significance of culture and family to parenting and grandparenting in a regional community and the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers and grandmothers.

Prof Marriott and her team have been working with the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma people and local agencies in Roebourne since 2011 to create programs that aim to contribute to the social and emotional wellbeing of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, infants and young children.

The mothering film is one of the key outcomes of the research, funded by the Australian Research Council.

DVD copies will be distributed to educational and health services so that it can be screened in many more communities and among staff in relevant agencies.

�The film will provide a focus for positive community discussions on the strengths of culture in Aboriginal families and how services can better support families in parenting,� Prof Marriott said.

�Importantly, the film features participants speaking of the complexity of parenting and how this can be further compounded by a lack of access to culturally supportive services.�

Prof Marriott said they were excited to have launched the film at Murdoch University and share it with Aboriginal community members and services.

�We selected the week of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children�s Day for the launch of the film because it is the largest national day to celebrate our children and for all to learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the lives of Aboriginal children,� Prof Marriott said.

The film screening was attended by Aboriginal community members from Roebourne and Perth, Elders, service providers and researchers from the project and then followed by a panel discussion.