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Observations in Indigenous Policy

In response to the perennial question about 'what is to be done' these are 11 observations on Indigenous policy based on a lifetime of practice and reflection. We are all particular observers and for what they are worth these are ours. One could say this is a manifesto or wish-list of sorts, one that we can elaborate in much more detail in the near future.

1 Adopt and practice a living systems approach, and concentrate efforts at evolving stakeholders within the system to ever more complex and higher stages of consciousness.

2 Those who do not see themselves as part of the problem cannot be part of the solution.

3 Paying critical attention to people's states, stages and lines of development is important, along with actively calibrating learning systems to balance horizontal with vertical learning.

4 Maintain and persist with the focus on business, community, health, economic development and schooling.

5 For the sake of commonsense equity, learning, and building trust in the system, introduce a national scorecard of transparent regional breakdowns of funding allocations along with comparative tracking of social impact outcomes.

6 Increase funding and double-down on efforts to combat recidivism and domestic violence.

7 Focus on leadership develop on nurturing the collective capacity of a specific group (s) of people to shape their future (ie not on individuals, position or status).

8 Avoid overdose and over-reliance on traditional project management and strategic planning by instead actively identifying opportunities to apply agile, iterative approaches to getting things done. Think action learning, experiments, disruptive innovation and prototypes.

9 As per 7 and 8 above: actually train groups in Agile, and distill that down to immediately practical applications like the 16 practices outlined by Dan Mezick in his book, The Culture Game.

10. Continually work to foster and deepen community, cultural pride and democracy to build a platform aimed at capitalising on a changing world rather than just adapting to it.

11. In the wake of climate change and increasing concentrations of income and wealth at the top, ask what it will take to become Indigenous again, not as we were, but as we might become, because as Bill McDonough remarks, "I think if we can find our place, we will find our purpose'.

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