Thu, Dec 02


Zoom Live Recorded Online Event

The WHY Campaign - Day 8 of 16 Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

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The WHY Campaign - Day 8 of 16 Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Time & Location

Dec 02, 2021, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM GMT+11

Zoom Live Recorded Online Event

About the Event

Our next proud First Nations truth-telling man, and day 8 Guest Speaker is Devon Cuimara. His mother's father's moort (family) is the First Nation People of the Southwest of Western Australia (WA). His matrilineal kin groups are the Manitjimat (white cockatoo) and the Wardongmat (crow). ‘Mat ‘means ‘stock, family, leg’. Devon's moort (Family) are the Wadjuk, Balardong, Wiilmun, Pibilman, mob, and our totem is the frog. His ngank (mothers’) ngank (mothers’) moort (family) are from the Northwest.  Devon is the son of a father who is the son of a father (his grandfather). So, three generations of his family have used violence. In his family, most men use violence. Most Aboriginal men he knows are abusive. He has used violence. However, he was not born violent. He says he learned aggression. The abuse was normal growing up. Living with violent behaviour in his family was like a repetitive monologue. He has confronted abuse all my life, including sexual abuse. The lack of preventative behaviour change modalities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in the Aboriginal family violence sector requires far more significant investment into earlier intervention programs such as the AMHC. We aim to keep families together before they reach crisis point. The objective is to shift our focus from crisis care to preventative care to create lasting generational change.  However, AMHC’s overarching goal is to provide men who use violence against women and children in an obligatory residential setting. Land 10 kilometres south-east of Newman is our site, and the Shire of East Pilbara has transferred a parcel of land from this area to the AMHC. AMHC plans to build a purpose-built 28-bed residential facility Puntu Yirna Maparnjula Japiya (Aboriginal Men's Healing Sacred-Place). The land is of cultural significance, and the proposed site is on a significant dreaming path known as “Kangaroo dreaming”. The track is a male ceremonial pathway.

AMHC seeks to provide a residential healing and wellbeing centre for men who use violence against women.  Puntu Yirna Maparnjula Japiya (Aboriginal Men's Healing Sacred-Place) in the Pilbara is an alternative to removing women and children from their home or community and supporting long-term behavioural change in Aboriginal men who use or are at risk of using violence. 

The Aboriginal Males Healing Centre Strong Spirit Strong Family Strong Culture Inc. (AMHC) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) registered charity, providing culturally appropriate family violence services to Aboriginal people. Our service is located and operated in the Shire of East Pilbara (SoEP), Western Australia. AMHC was first incorporated in 2015 and began working in 2018. AMHC’s vision is that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children live safe and healthy lives free of family violence and homelessness as a result. In addition, we aim to reduce the overrepresentation of First Nations men incarcerated for their use of violence.  AMHC operates from House 1 Parnpajinya Aboriginal Community (PAC). Under the umbrella of AMHC is the ‘walk-up’ service-Parnpajinya Aboriginal Males Healing Service (PAMHS). Current staffing is via goodwill. Existing services include counselling, group therapy, men’s health services, cultural healing, and Aboriginal Lore programs. These services are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men only.  It is well known and documented about the lack of services and programs in remote communities such as Newman in the Shire of East Pilbara (SoEP) for Aboriginal men who are perpetrators of violence (Centre for Innovation Justice, 2015). The Aboriginal Males Healing Centre Strong Spirit Strong Families Strong Culture Inc. (AMHC) is committed to our endeavours to fill this gap via the Parnpajinya Aboriginal Males Healing Service (PAMHS) located on Parnpajinya Aboriginal Community (PAC).  The AMHC interdisciplinary team has developed a PAMHS management plan. PAMHS aims to establish partnerships, joint initiatives, improved referral pathways, information sharing and increased community accessibility to many family violence services. In addition to existing services, PAMHS will offer a community information and referral outreach service and a volunteer phone-in crisis helpline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.  In addition, AMHC seeks to provide a residential healing and wellbeing centre for men who use violence against women. Parnpajinya Aboriginal Community Safety (PACS), based in the Pilbara, is an alternative to removing women and children from their home or community and supporting long-term behavioural change in Aboriginal men who use or are at risk of using violence.

The Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre Wangka Maya says that the name for the Pilbara region derives from the Aboriginal word bilybara, meaning "dry" in the Nyamal and Banyjima languages. Pilbara has an estimated population of 61,688, as of June 2018. It contains some of Earth's oldest rock formations, and includes landscapes of coastal plains and mountain ranges with cliffs and gorges. The Pilbara Creek (originally spelt "Pilbarra") is a tributary of the Yule River, a significant river in the region. The Pilbara contains some of the world's oldest surface rocks, including the ancient fossilised remains known as stromatolites and rocks such as granites that are more than three billion years old. In 2007, some of the oldest evidence of life on Earth was found in 3.4 billion-year-old sandstones at Strelley Pool, which preserve fossils of sulfur-processing bacteria. The mineralized spheres, which were found on an ancient beach and have a cell-like morphology, were chemically analysed, revealing that they used sulfur for fuel. 


The Aboriginal population of the Pilbara considerably predates, by 30–40,000 years, the European colonisation of the region. Archaeological evidence indicates that people were living in the Pilbara even during the harsh climatic conditions of the Last Glacial Maximum.The early history of the first peoples is held within an oral tradition, archeological evidence and petroglyphs. Near the town of Dampier is a peninsula known as Murujuga, which contains a large collection of world heritage listed petroglyphs, dating back thousands of years. Rock art in the Pilbara appears to have been primarily etched into the hard rock surfaces, compared to predominantly paintings on the softer sandstone in the Kimberley. This does not preclude that painting was and is not performed in the Pilbara. 

20th century

Working conditions in the pearling and pastoral industries for Aboriginal people in the Pilbara region around 1900 have been described as slavery, with no wages paid, kidnapping as well as severe and cruel punishments for misbehaviour and absconding all common practices. Some incidents, such as the Bendu Atrocity of 1897, attracted international condemnation. The first strike by Indigenous people in Australia took place in 1946 in the Pilbara, known as the Pilbara strike or Pilbara Aboriginal strike, when Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off the stations in protest at low pay and bad working conditions, a strike that lasted for over three years.

Family clans in the Pilbara who were supported by mining prospector, Don McLeod, developed skills for mining and the concentration of rare metals. For a short period money accumulated, which according to Aboriginal law was to be used for traditional ways. Eventually the funds were used to establish an independent Aboriginal-controlled school. The concept has expanded into a movement with around 20 similar schools established in northern Western Australia by the mid 1990s.[citation needed] Jan Richardson, wife of Victorian Aboriginal activist Stan Davey, wrote a biography of McLeod as a doctoral thesis


In 2006, it was estimated that 15% of the population of the Pilbara identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, approximately 6,000 people. Many Pilbara communities face the many complex effects of colonisation, and lack adequate access to housing, health and education. A 1971 survey of 1,000 Aboriginal people conducted by Pat McPherson found that most had one or more serious diseases. At the McClelland Royal Commission into British nuclear testing, Aboriginals from the Pilbara provided evidence regarding the explosion on the Montebello Islands.

Aboriginal communities are sited over a number of different places. Many have poor infrastructure, and relations between police and Aboriginal people are often tense.(Source