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First Peoples

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Background Walykumunu nyinaratjaku means ‘To live a good life’ in the Ngaanyatjarra language. This research project was initiated by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC). The project asked the question, ‘What makes a good life for Aboriginal people with a disability from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands?’. Aṉangu and Yarnangu with disabilities and the family members who are, with few exceptions, their principal carers were interviewed, as were workers from organisations that support Aṉangu and Yarnangu. The report summarises those discussions, looks at the factors that enable or impede the achievement of that good life, and makes recommendations for providing culturally appropriate services.

Findings The most significant finding of this research is that Aṉangu and Yarnangu with a disability want to live in their communities, on the NPY lands, with family. This is more important to them than the quality of care they receive, or the availability of services. It is important despite the difficulties they encounter in accessing basic daily amenities including food, clothing and bedding, which remain a major priority for people living in community. For those Aṉangu and Yarnangu with a disability who are living in community, a good life also means being included and participating in cultural, family and community activities such as arts and crafts, bush trips, bush medicine, music, television and movies, sport, socialising, spiritual life and shopping.

Recommendations The principal findings and the recommendations from this report have been incorporated into a three-part conceptual framework: Heart (emotions), Head (knowledge), and Hands (actions). This framework, derived from work by Rippon and Hopkins, was suggested by the information we gathered, and is useful for all agencies that provide services on the NPY Lands. The three elements of the framework overlap and are interrelated, so each recommendation is listed here under the most relevant element. 

This report is funded with assistance from a funding grant offered under the National Disability Research and Development Agenda, jointly implemented by disability representatives from Commonwealth, State and Territory governments.

Related Information

Importance of land, family and culture for a good life

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