Yarning is a cultural framework to create a space to listen and talk about issues and complications that happen on a daily basis. To have and equal voice and listen and share difficult conversations. It is a culturally appropriate way to have conversations that are inclusive. Yarning has been used among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a way of sharing information, knowledge and traditions. Everyone sits around the Yarning mat. Everyone is on the same level, it connects to spirits and country. While in the circle everyone listens to others as they share their story without interruption or judgement. They listen to challenges that are faced day in and out.
Yarning with dignity and respect
Yarning is used among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to share information, stories, knowledge and traditions. It is less structured and less formal than what you may be used to. A forensic interview style is unlikely to help an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person tell you their story.
Yarning with parents
In more traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander areas, it may be best to avoid direct questions at first. A yarning approach can work better. You could suggest two alternative scenarios. For example, ‘Some people find parenting difficult and some people do not. What is being a parent like for you?’
You should also be aware that where possible, it is preferable for men to speak with men and women to speak with women, especially when you are not known by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander parent or their community. If this is not possible, ask the person if there is someone else who can support them during the discussion, such as an independent person, Elder, relative or community member.
Yarning with honesty
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents need to know they can rely on you to be upfront and honest about what is happening. There may be times you need to have uncomfortable and hard yarns. You need to participate in these conversations with compassion, curiosity and courage.
If you do not, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents could be left confused and may feel they cannot trust what you say or do. This echoes feelings about past injustices and has a rippling effect within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community:
The three key aims of Durack Yarning are:
3. To disseminate the results of the yarning circles method externally in order to:
a. Provide other organisations working in the Indigenous education/youth/sport space with a framework or model for applying Indigenous evaluation methods
b. To grow the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to conduct and drive local research initiatives
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