Title: Social and emotional well-being among custodians of Australian Indigenous knowledge
Summary: Scarcely any research exists, nationally or globally, on the social and emotional well-being of First Nations Elders who are the custodians and keepers of Indigenous knowledge. And yet, Elders expend vast amounts of emotional energy on ‘cultural holding’ with little opportunity for personal replenishment.
In Australia, the recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with stay-at-home orders and vaccination priority for Aboriginal communities together with the recent outbreak in rural NSW, has accentuated the responsibilities of Aboriginal leaders and Elders. The translation of Indigenous knowledge to problem solving in complex and unprecedented circumstances is another layer in Elders’ cultural responsibilities.
Our central research question is: What are the social and emotional impacts on Elders and older people in First Nations communities as the holders and transmitters of cultural knowledge in Australia’s regions?
Our aim is to explore this question in a nuanced way with a focus on two First Nations communities in New South Wales. Our focus for this seed project is regional NSW due to existing partnerships with communities there. The project has the potential to be expanded to other regions within Australia with future funding.
Dr Candice Boyd (CI)
The University of Melbourne