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Aboriginal Bullying


Published on

Simon Brascoupé
Acting CEO
National Aboriginal Health Organization

Published in: Health & Medicine, Career
  • As parents, we may not always know when a bully strikes our innocent kids. And sometimes, they might just keep their mouth shut about what happened, or they may even ask for help but nobody would bother for the reason that the bully might include him or her on his list. I'm a mother of a 12-year old son who is quite an introvert and I'm afraid that some bullies might do something on him anytime and in anyway. Luckily, read an article about like an on-star for phone that has been working perfectly for me and my son. With just a click of a button, you get conferenced with an emergency response agent, a list of people in your so called-safety network, and can even get escalated to the nearest 911. Check it here:
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  • we as caregivers need to stop this cycle of abuse, we need to show our children respect, love honor, safe ways to vent and to let them know they are our future leaders, and we must embrace this and honor it; humble ourselves and do as our ancestors have.
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Aboriginal Bullying

  1. 1. Aboriginal Bullying Simon BrascoupéActing CEO, National Aboriginal Health Organization
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  3. 3. Bullying & lateral violence• Aboriginal experience in Australia• Almost every youth has experienced violence from their peers—called lateral lateral-violence.html
  4. 4. Percentage of young people who havewitnessed lateral violence and bullying at home 95%
  5. 5. Percentage of bullying that occurs among Aboriginal people themselves 95%
  6. 6. What is lateral violence?• Lateral violence is a form of bullying which has been explained as the "organised, harmful behaviours that we do to each other collectively as part of an oppressed group, within our families, within our organisations and within our communities".• Lateral violence is a worldwide occurrence with all minorities and particularly Aboriginal peoples. It is directed sideways (lateral) meaning the aggressors are your peers, often people in powerless positions. It is your own (Aboriginal) peers who bully you.• "Lateral violence is the expression of rage and anger, fear and terror that can only be safely vented upon those closest to us when we are being oppressed." In other words, people who are victims of a situation of dominance turn on each other instead of confronting the system that oppresses them.• Other terms include work place bullying and horizontal violence.
  7. 7. Causes of lateral violence“[Lateral violence] comes from being colonised, invaded. It comes from being told you are worthless and treated as being worthless for a long period of time. Naturally you dont want to be at the bottom of the pecking order, so you turn on your own.” Richard J. Frankland, Aboriginal singer/songwriter, author and film maker
  8. 8. Causes of lateral violence• The roots of lateral violence lie in colonisation, oppression, intergenerational trauma and ongoing experiences of racism and discrimination, factors mainstream bullying programs do not take into account.• Governments can (inadvertently or deliberately) create the environment for lateral violence through a lack of recognition and engagement, and by pitting groups against each other.• One such example is the native title process where Aboriginal people have to prove their identity over and over again. In some states Aboriginal groups have a say in who belongs to a particular land and who doesnt, a right which can stir lateral violence when native title claimants are not sure of their identity. The native title process can also lead to feelings of dispossession.• This is similar to the complex process through which Aboriginal people in Canada are or are not able to obtain “status”
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  10. 10. Effects"I met a lady once. When we explained lateral violence, she broke down and cried and said thats what caused my husband to kill himself!." Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner• Effects of lateral violence and bullying include reduced (mental) health and well-being and lower self-confidence.• Violence is normalised and children grow up expected to behave like everyone else and copy the bullying.“ oppressed people, we want to say we have that little bit of power over somebody and weve just dragged ourselves down as a society instead of supporting each other in the community. As long as we internalise the pain and dont forgive people, well carry it with us forever." Allen Benson
  11. 11. Effects“With lateral violence the oppressed become the oppressors. Weve internalised the pain of colonisation and our oppression and weve taken it into our communities in the factionalisation and in the gossip and talk of blood quantum, "youre half-blood" etc.” Allen Benson, CEO Native Counseling Services of Alberta, Canada
  12. 12. Forms of lateral violence• nonverbal innuendo (raising eyebrows, face-making)• verbal affront (overt/covert, snide remarks, lack of openness, abrupt responses)• undermining activities (turning away, not being available)• withholding information• sabotage (deliberately setting up a negative situation)• infighting (bickering)• scapegoating• backstabbing (complaining to peers and not confronting the individual)• failure to respect privacy• broken confidences
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  14. 14. “Those most at risk of lateral violence in its raw physical form are family members and, in the main, the most vulnerable members of the family: old people, women and children. Especially the children.” Marcia Langton, Aboriginal writer
  15. 15. Resolving lateral violence• Governments are not likely to fix the issue.• The solution must come from within Aboriginal communities, from Aboriginal people taking control and addressing the issue themselves.• To tackle lateral violence Richard J. Frankland suggests that you "out it. Name it for what it is, a destroyer of Indigenous culture and life. Publicly admit it is happening and then take steps and measures to deal with it... Find ways to deal with it, end it, eradicate it from our lives and communities."• Others suggest to apply traditional ways of resolving disputes, such as learning and healing circles and shared care.
  16. 16. ying-and-lateral-violence.html#ixzz1jD1TU1hC
  17. 17. Bullying in Aboriginal Communities
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  19. 19. Bullying and First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth• Bullying for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians is a diverse and complex issue.• Sometimes bullying occurs within Aboriginal communities in the form of lateral violence• Other times it is perpetrated by those outside the Aboriginal community on members of the community
  20. 20. Racism and bullyingBullying directed at someone because of their race may include:• Racially motivated teasing, taunting, froshing, or threats including: • Malicious name-calling • Obscene gestures • Physical aggression such as hitting, pushing, kicking, punching, choking, and stalking• Spreading rumours or gossip about a personʼs cultural identity• Isolating someone from his or her friends or peer group• Using the Internet, instant messaging, and social networking sites to intimidate, put down, spread rumours, make fun of, threaten, or exclude someone because of their actual or perceived cultural identity.
  21. 21. Who experiences racial bullying?This type of bullying can affect anyone and may be targeted at people who:• Self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit• Are perceived to be Aboriginal• Are teachers, parents, coaches and community members that are Aboriginal.
  22. 22. Who experiences racial bullying• Racial bullying may be perpetrated by those outside the Aboriginal community on members of the community, such as Aboriginal children and youth being victimized by non-Aboriginal children and youth for looking Aboriginal.• Sometimes bullying can be perpetrated by someone inside the community on a member of their own group. Some examples of this type of bullying are: • Family (band) differences, mutual resentments and grudges • Bullying people for not looking Aboriginal, or for having a lighter or darker skin tone • New people coming into the community • Name calling.• Bullies who hide behind racially motivated beliefs and attitudes are still bullies.
  23. 23. Someone who is the target of racial bullying, may feel:• Alone• Embarrassed or ashamed• Depressed and uncertain about themselves or their future• Angry and want to turn the tables and become a bully themselves• Unsafe at school or in their community• Stressed and often think about skipping school or activities to avoid the bullies• Set apart from their cultural community, and as though they no longer want to acknowledge their heritage• Isolated and wanting to withdraw from social activities and hide away.• These are all normal and natural feelings. It is important to remind the victim that they can always reach out for help.
  24. 24. What advice can you give to someone who is being bullied?Tell someone you trust –• Talk to a trusted adult or friend who respects your confidentiality.• This may be a teacher, parent, relative, youth worker, counsellor, coach, elder or faith leader. Remember, you donʼt have to suffer in silence.• Keep speaking up until someone helps you.• No one deserves to be bullied!
  25. 25. What advice can you give to someone who is being bullied?Stay safe – Don’t fight back.• Bullies want attention and fighting back gives them that attention. If you fight back, you may get hurt or make the situation worse. If you are a bystander, go for help and provide moral and emotional support to the person being bullied.
  26. 26. What advice can you give to someone who is being bullied?Write down everything.• Keep a record about the incident, including the date, time, location, and what was said or done.• If you are being bullied online, donʼt delete the message. You donʼt have to read it, but keep it. Itʼs your evidence. The police, your Internet service provider, or your school authorities can use this information to help protect you from further abuse.
  27. 27. What advice can you give to someone who is being bullied?Get help.• Caring and trusted adults and friends are available to help and support you.• Look for resources in your community that can offer traditional approaches to healing.• Another option is to have members of your community work with the bully (or the target) and make a community healing circle.
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  29. 29. What advice can you give to someone who is being bullied?Find support in your community.• Check to see if there is a local group in your community where you can meet others who have had similar experiences.• Consider starting support groups or other types of resources in your community if they do not exist.• It is important to ensure that any support is culturally appropriate and includes Elders and well-respected community members.
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  31. 31. For more information on bullying, visit
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  33. 33. Case studies• Please arrange yourselves into small groups• Read through your group’s scenario and the associated dialogue• Work through the set of 5 questions, thinking about how your response might be different for a FNIM caller versus a non-Aboriginal caller• Present back to the group in 30 minutes
  34. 34. Case studiesScenario 1:An individual calls in to tell you that they are being bullied by other kids at their school. You know/suspect that this person is First Nations, Inuit or Métis, and that they are being bullied by their FN/I/M peers.Scenario 2:An individual calls in to tell you that they are being bullied by non-FNIM kids. The person may or may not tell you that they feel that they are being bullied because they are FNIM.
  35. 35. Questions to discuss in your groupFor each question, consider how your response would be different for a FNIM person versus a non-Aboriginal person.2. What do you say to gain the trust of the person calling in?3. What do you tell them to reassure them?4. Do you ask them how they would like to resolve the situation, or do you suggest possible resolutions? How do you discuss resolution?5. If the person feels that they have already tried all of your suggested resolution strategies, how do you help them to consider alternate strategies? How do you keep them hopeful?6. What services and/or resources do you suggest for them?
  36. 36. Miigwetch, Nia:wen, Thank You!