An Overview of Community Development Initiatives Engaging Indigenous People in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.
Community Development marks a foundationally novel approach to improving Indigenous communities. These diverse and locally-led activities provide a way for dynamic groups to assert ownership of their community through participation.
This approach changes the word Indigenous to mean “us”, instead of “them”. Indigenous community members can start asking “what are we doing”, instead of “what have they done to us”. This approach also leads people to begin to seek answers to profound questions at home, instead of relying on a formal needs assessment or counsel from some far-off bureaucratic organization. This paper does not devalue the great efforts that societies are making to help Indigenous people. The current state of Indigenous health and social problems impel everyone to action. The hope is that Indigenous communities will begin to access the tremendous and often remiss power of local involvement.
Indigenous communities have historical grievances that require traditional approaches to seek resolution. That work will be ongoing, however the mode of resource building focused on here is somewhat independent of these activities. The focus instead is looking to the places where families live, and working to bolster forums where communities can communicate with each other. Strong Community Development essentially creates opportunities for communities to connect with themselves.
Results may not seem compelling to outsiders, however there is generally a consensus that the goal of involving community members is more important than the outcome of community-led actions. Community Development offers an opportunity for governments, nonprofit groups and Indigenous communities to learn more about the actual conditions that Indigenous people identify as important to change. This connected approach emphasizes the development of abilities of communities to administer their own affairs. The Community Development method has proven to be sound, and it is essential to remember that there is not one identified way to begin projects or enlist communities. The main requirement is that planning and implementation should include a majority of community members and occur where they live instead of being implemented by staff from a far off centralized agency. This approach also provides a novel opportunity for communities to define their own successes.
Policy recommendations include using Community Development as a tool to empower Indigenous communities by enhancing their capability to work toward longer term stability. A strategy of engagement that focuses on stimulating Community Development will enable service providers by amplifying the connective strength of positive community action. This will in turn help Indigenous communities develop internal assets that can be used to further improve their communities.
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Reference list: Ben Geboe. 2014. Retrieved fromhttps://www.mcgill.ca/isid/files/isid/pb_2014_01_geboe.pdf