A new online resource is changing the way Indigenous children access culture and helping displaced Indigenous children connect to Country across Victoria.

Created in collaboration with Indigenous organisations and the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, Deadly Story aims to educate young Indigenous Victorians in the out-of-home care system about their heritage.

­­Proud Wemba Wemba woman and Manager of the team behind Deadly Story at Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) in Melbourne, Emma Bamblett said Deadly Story came about from the amendments to the Victorian Children, Youth and Families Act (2005) in 2015.

“The changes were to strengthen case planning and cultural plans for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care,” Bamblett said.

“A new cultural planning approach was developed along with resources to support the changes which was an online cultural information portal. A youth advisory committee decided on the name Deadly Story.”

Bamblett told NIT there were limited formal plans for Indigenous Victorian children in out-of-home care to have access to community, family, and cultural events and activities.

“Recent data in Victoria indicates that 59 percent of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care do not have a cultural plan, which weakens their cultural connections,” Bamblett said.

“Our online resource hopes to assist with providing a platform that young people, carers and community members can use to see what’s happening and learn about culture.”

Seven elements were identified to be essential to cultural connection, including:

  • Personal identity – who you are
  • Family, community – who you belong to
  • Country – where you belong
  • Family history, Aboriginal history – where you come from
  • Cultural expression and events – what you do
  • Cultural values, beliefs and practices – what you believe
  • Symbolism – what symbolises your Aboriginal culture.

“These are elements that are important to an Aboriginal person in supporting their journey in who they are and where they come from.

“For an Aboriginal child in out of home care, being in a non-Aboriginal placement with no connection to family, community and cultural identity can have a big impact on their wellbeing and cultural journey.

“These cultural elements assist with case planning and ensure all of our children have a right to their culture.”

Deadly Story also features an historical timeline, an events calendar, an interactive map, interviews with Indigenous role models and Elders, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service directory, and other Indigenous news and resources.

Bamblett said Deadly Story hopes to inspire young First Nations people and that they have big plans for the future.

“We are constantly working on bringing out new content for our audience that can help to educate everyone from young kids to adults about the history, culture and lore of Aboriginal people.”

Deadly Story is looking for young people who may be interested in writing and publishing as well as sharing the stories of other people and organisations.

“We want to be a space where young people can share their voices and we are always happy to hear pitches from community members,” Bamblett said.

For more information and to view the resource, head to: https://www.deadlystory.com/.

By Hannah Cross