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Aboriginal Heath and Reconciliation Week With Renee Colbung

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09 May 2022

Renee Colbung is from Ceduna, South Australia and is a descendant of the Kokatha, Mirning people of the Far West Coast of South Australia and the Wongatha, Noongar and Ngaanyatjarra people of Western Australia. 

She is a qualified Aboriginal Health Practitioner and has completed her Certificate IV in Aboriginal Primary Health Care with AHCSA in 2021 and has spent the last five years working in Aboriginal health. 

Moving from Ceduna Kooniba Aboriginal Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (Yadu Health Aboriginal Corporation) as a CHSP Senior Case Worker, to the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service as the Puyu Wanti Tackling Tobacco Action Worker.

We had a yarn to Renee about Reconciliation Week and what it means to her both personally and through an Aboriginal Health lens. The theme for Reconciliation Week in 2022 is 'Be Brave, Make Change'. 

"To me reconciliation is about being able to tell the untold story of Aboriginal people around Australia," she says.

"It is important that Aboriginal people are supported and encouraged to share their stories in order for reconiliation to happen. Having an understanding of First Nations will be the way that we can become stronger together for our future."

"Understanding stories and vulnerabilities allows us to get a glimpse of walking in someone else's shoes and to create a deep connection with each other as human beings. This is what we have to do to get to a greater level of understanding in order to improve how to move forward for Reconciliation."

Renee belives that the act of Reconciliation should not only be recognised in a week of work within health and community, but that everybody should have more accountability to take steps to achieving reconciliation.

"Reconciliation has to be front of mind in daily lives and recognising this will bring about greater change moving forward. If we want change, we need to action it and include it in our lives every day, not just one week," says Renee.

Detailing her thoughts on how reconciliation could better take place in Aboriginal health, Renee says that understanding and hearing stories from those affected across Aboriginal communities and empowering them to tell their stories about the prejudices they experience, racism, exclusion, issues relating to removal of children and how this impacts on people's health and well-being should be prioritised. 

"This would give others greater insight into the challenges that our people experience so we can develop better responses to support Indigenous people" Renee says.

"This would also be a great way for the younger generation to understand what happened and how they can commit to ensuring that bad things like that never happen again."