culture - Gamarada


culture - Gamarada
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre
works for a fair, just and democratic
society, empowering citizens,
consumers and communities by
making strategic interventions on
public interest issues.
PIAC is an independent, non-profit law and policy
organisation that identifies public interest issues
and works co-operatively with other organisations
to advocate for individuals and groups affected.
Gamarada was selected by PIAC to be a partner
with the Mental Health Legal Services Project
which was established to address evident, systemic
access to justice problems for people in NSW.
PIAC provides an Indigenous men’s support
service worker at the Gamarada Men’s Healing
Program, Redfern to provide Aboriginal men
with the opportunity to heal from current and
historical trauma as the basis for working on their
legal and other problems. The Indigenous Men’s
Access to Justice worker facilitates connections
between these men, the Gamarada Program and
appropriate legal, health and community services.
This innovative service fulfils recommendations
made in the Bringing them home report1, in which it
was understood that emotional healing, practical
support and legal information were the best ways
to break the nexus between Indigenous men and
the criminal justice system.
1 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Brining them home: the
Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Children from their Families (1997).
For more Information on Gamarada Please visit www. or contact Ken on [email protected] or
David on [email protected].
life skills
New program commences
11 October 2010
Gamarada means ‘comrades’ or ‘friends’ in the
Gadigal language. It is a Self Healing & Life Skills
Development Program that uses Aboriginal
knowledge and methods to empower participants
to achieve positive goals and breakthrough old
patterns and behaviours. ‘Gamarada aims to create
a greater awareness and respect for Aboriginal
spirituality and traditional ways of healing the self
& sharing knowledge with others’. The program
was developed in Redfern by five men, all but
one is Aboriginal and all work in key community
development roles. The spirit of Gamarada was
born from community expressing their will to
empower men to heal themselves & reconnect
to Aboriginal spirituality. Service to family
and community are important features of the
Gamarada program.
Gamarada Healing Program
The self-development activities undertaken by
Gamarada are adapted to target a wide range of
community needs, including:
• Young people experiencing interrupted
schooling or disruptions in family life.
• Stolen Generations members; and others
affected by forced removal.
• People in contact with in the criminal justice
• People with drug, alcohol, and gambling use
the men said
’For many years now, from a background of
violence and anger, I have learnt to open my mind
and to take in things which can help me with my
own healing. Gamarada has inspired me and given
me many new tools which I now share with others
who are also trying to change for the better.’
David Leha, Gamarada Leader. (Last time in prison spent
6 months in solitary confinement for violent behaviour.
He also performs as singer ‘Radical Son’ & conducts
Gamarada Anger Management & Healing sessions.)
While most men’s group programs are based
around ‘talking therapies’, Gamarada utilises group
work to teach participants practical skills such as
stress management, relaxation, breathing and
visualisation exercises.
The concept of awareness is explored in the
context of Indigenous spiritual practices such as
‘Dadirri’ (deep listening, stillness and awareness).
Anger management and emotional control, or as
it is termed in Gamarada, ‘non-reaction’ techniques
are also focal points which are addressed and
reinforced through practical application of the
techniques. The program supports participants to
apply these skills to their lives in order to cope with
periods of stress, grief and loss, substance use and
family violence.
‘I thought this sort of stuff was not for me and was
sceptical at first. However I enjoyed the program,
learnt lots and realise how what we are trying to
create together has the ability to assist people with
a lot of their own self healing and to take back
control of their lives and emotions.’
Shane Phillips, Gamarada Leader and CEO Tribal Warrior
Association and participantant of Kevin Rudd’s 2020
‘Gamarada is a grass roots program driven by
goodwill. The principles of the program are age old.’
It’s about repect for self, continuing our culture and
taking responsibility for our actions.’
Ken Zulumovski, Gamarada Leader and Indigenous
Men’s Access to Justice Worker, Public Interest Advocacy
Centre (PIAC).
Life planning and goal setting are integral to the
Gamarada experience.
Uncle Chicka Madden Gamarada Patron, Director Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern & Director of Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (Choc) Mundine, Councillor Hoff City of Sydney, Eileen
Baldry Acting Asst Dean Uni NSW, John Pilger, Professor Judy Atkinson Southern Cross University, Marie Bashir NSW Governor General, Patrick Dodson former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal
Reconciliation former Commissioner into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody winner of 2008 Sydney Peace Prize. Uncle Mickey Mundine CEO Aboriginal Housing co-op, Uncle Ray Minniecon Aboriginal
Yabun Person 2008 & Gamarada Patron, Shane Phillips CEO Tribal Warrior & participants of Kevin Rudd’s 2020 forum, Mick Gooda Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

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