Developing Culturally Relevant Indicators of Wellbeing: A Yawuru Example
How we think about wellbeing depends on where we come from, who we are and our experiences and aspirations. Yet the tendency is to enforce orthodox measures of wellbeing to represent these diverse experiences. For many Indigenous peoples around the world, this means the parameters of their wellbeing tend to be defined on their behalf. While this in part reflects the power imbalance between Indigenous peoples and nation-states, a more critical aspect of the problem is the lack of informed data on precisely what constitutes wellbeing for Indigenous peoples.
This collaborative research between the ANU, the Kimberley Institute and BCEC focuses on understanding Indigenous wellbeing from the ground up working with the Yawuru in Broome. The approach taken starts with Indigenous worldviews as the foundation and involves indigenous decision-making throughout the entire process of the research. The research findings are intended to provide a baseline for Yawuru as a collective to plan and design programs that might improve community wellbeing. It provides a valuable tool for monitoring wellbeing over time, based on measures identified by Yawuru themselves using their success markers of living well.