Our way of being (First Peoples First, Deep Listening, Cultural Competency, Community-Led) upholds what we do
(Advocate, Lead, Prepare).

First Peoples First

First People’s culture and arts are the foundation blocks of Australia. Care for Country is a driving force for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and traditional land management is supported by Australians in the main.

Creative Recovery Network is working with the First Peoples of Australia to ensure their culture, arts and knowledge around caring for and healing this country underpin and guide our vision and working processes.


Creative Recovery Network acknowledges the country, culture and traditional custodians of the land upon which we walk, work and live. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future of Indigenous nations in Australia and abroad. We acknowledge that Australian Aboriginal sovereignty was never ceded.

Protocols of Engagement

Creative Recovery Network’s approach to emergency preparedness, response and recovery is adaptive and iterative. In recognition of the diversity of needs of communities and cultures, Creative Recovery Network is committed to inclusive approaches and methods when supporting communities, including First Peoples. Moreover, in recognition and support of the sovereignty, self-determination rights and the time immemorial interconnectedness with land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands people, Creative Recovery Network is committed to the following principles:

  • Understanding of and adherence to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Knowing place and respecting and supporting each communities distinctiveness, unique needs and cultural facets;
  • Engaging in deep listening, making space and making time to truly connect with elders and communities at large, respectful of others’ time and energies;
  • Embracing oral testimonies and storytelling as means to sharing and celebrating  individual and collective wisdom, beliefs and values and heal through connectedness and understanding;
  • Pursuing true participation and collaboration at large as the only path to shared and sustainable outcomes.

Deep Listening

Ngangikurungkurr people of the Daly River area of Northern Territory, describe deep listening as Dadirri – a form of contemplation and non-obtrusive observation. People are recognised as being unique, diverse, complex, and interconnected; part of a community where all people matter and all people belong (Atkinson, 2002; Ungunmerr, 1993).

The contemplative way of dadirri spreads over our whole life. It renews us and brings us peace. It makes us feel whole again…

In our Aboriginal way, we learnt to listen from our earliest days. We could not live good and useful lives unless we listened. This was the normal way for us to learn -not by asking questions. We learnt by watching and listening, waiting and then acting.

Our people have passed on this way of listening for over 40,000 years… (Miriam -Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann)

Our shared experiences are different, but in the inner deep listening to, and quiet, still awareness of each other, we learn and grow together. In this we create community, and our shared knowledge(s) and wisdom are expanded from our communication with each other (Atkinson 2002, p. 17).

Cultural Competence

We acknowledge, recognise and empathise with the complexities and unique needs of each community, including each First Peoples community. Origin and personal experiences shape beliefs, values and customs; as one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world, Australia’s diversity is an enriching yet challenging trait of our identity as a nation. Cultural competence is “the ability to identify and challenge one’s own cultural assumptions, one’s values and beliefs. It is about developing empathy and connected knowledge, the ability to see the world through another’s eyes, or at the very least, to recognise that others may view the world through different cultural lenses” (Fitzgerald 2000 cited in Stewart 2006)

Creative Recovery Network embraces cultural competence as an ongoing process and an ideal to strive towards (Diller 2004) in all aspects of our relationship building, work and processes.

Community Led

Through our network we work together to create and achieve locally owned visions and goals, putting local voices in the lead, building on local strengths and collaborating across sectors. This relationship focus is intentional and adaptable, and works to achieve systemic change focused on self-determination and resilience building.


Atkinson, J 2002, Trauma trails, recreating song lines : the transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia, Spinifex Press, North Melbourne.
Diller, J., 2004, Cultural Diversity: A Primer for Human Services,2nd Edition, Brooks/Cole, Canada. Department of Human Services (DHS), 2006, Cultural Diversity Guide, State of Victoria DHS, Brunswick.
Stewart, Sarah, 2006, Cultural Competence in Health Care, Diversity Health Institute, Sydney.
Ungunmerr, 1993, https://nextwave.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Dadirri-Inner-Deep-Listening-M-R-Ungunmerr-Bauman-Refl.pdf

Creative Recovery Network

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