In summary the submission:
- raises concerns over the widespread and uninformed use of the term ‘community capacity building’ in relation to Indigenous Australia.
- The Institute considers that capacity building in the Australian Indigenous context is essentially a political process. This process must be informed by the past, promote healing and draw on the strengths of present generations of Indigenous people, so that they can look forward to self-determining futures.
- The Institute urges the Indigenous community, the research community, and the policy community to come to together to promote ethical, considered and coordinated approaches to community capacity building.
- The Institute is well positioned to provide research direction and coordination on matters related to community capacity building, self-governance and sovereignty.
- The Institute supports Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of sovereignty and self-determination through a multiplicity of research programs and services that nurture, investigate and inform change.
- The Institute also promotes research to assist governments to realise their commitments to changing their relationships with Indigenous peoples, and to produce more equitable relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governing structures. Such structures will allow Indigenous governing processes to be more directly accountable to their constituents and funding departments.
- Ultimately, the process of capacity building must be a political one, aimed at supporting individuals and families, and one that recognises that Indigenous peoples’ greatest resource is their children. It must acknowledge that the future depends on the strengths and capacities of families and communities to nurture their children so that they grow to be confident, self-determining participants in Australian society.