Submission Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community 051 Pitjantjatjara Council Inc
Tabled Paper 271
Tabled Papers for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Eric Poole
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
IV. ABORIGINAL DRINKING AND THE DIFFICULTY OF ADDRESSING PROBLEMS ** "They [the drinkers] think about bringing grog here. They like to catch up with someone who's had an argument, get stronger to fight or talk. So they bring it back. Before, we used to have a fight and forget about. Now they wait for when they get a grog. Some blokes, you can't get a word out of them, but when they drink, you can't stop them." Donny Robertson, Warburton 1989 While many societies have difficulties in the containment of alcohol and drug use among their members, for a variety of historical and cultural reasons these difficulties are intensified among Aboriginal people. Put simply, there are two major reasons which lie behind these difficulties. The first relates to matters of population size and social control. The second relates to the high degree of tolerance and respect for the autonomy of the individual among Aboriginal people of the Western Desert culture. Both of these factors are exacerbated by the fact that what Aboriginal people have "learned" about drinking from the dominant alcohol-imbibing culture is that an individual largely is not responsible for what he does when he's drunk. ** This section was extracted directly and wholly from "A report...in support of objections to a liquor licence at Yamarna Station, Western Australia", prepared for the Pitjantjatjara Council by Maggie Brady (1990). In the interests of economy, some parts have been edited and paraphrased, but most of it has been taken verbatim from that work. Ms. Brady holds a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra. She has many years' experience working with Pitjantjatjara people and related Western Desert groups and is this country's leading authority on Aboriginal substance abuse. 28