The future sustainability of remote communities is being questioned with increasing frequency. The current state of welfare dependency is fragile. Significant work is being undertaken to develop the capacity of Indigenous communities to govern their own services and adult literacy is clearly seen as a major factor in the participation of Indigenous people in community development and the capacity building processes. Yet little research on adult literacy practices and competence in remote Indigenous communities has taken place in Australia.
This paper reports on findings from a collaborative study involving two remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, one in the Top End and the other in the Central Desert. The project, involving a collaboration between the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and Central Australian Remote Health Development Services, used an ethnographic approach, drawing on ideas developed internationally by anthropologists and linguists associated with the New Literacy Studies to explore the social context of literacy acquisition and use in these communities. In this paper we analyse the findings and explore the implications for training, employment and capacity development in remote Indigenous communities.
ISBN: 0 7315 5632 1