Rich email content, diverted to budget assimilation

I was going to post here some useful text in the fields of criminal justice and health – Elders Visiting Programs – that took me about an hour to write.  I’ll now put it as a separate blog. It was a reply to a ‘could you just look over the article and check that it is ok?’ I think they expect it will ‘just’ take about 2 minutes – very short article. This isn’t about me wanting to prove people wrong. I wish the article was ok and would ‘just’ take me two minutes to check. This was a task I wasn’t expecting. I sat down at the computer early this morning to go through a government chapter they have written reviewing deaths of Aboriginal people in custody, which I had allocated two hours for. I knew I had two other quick tasks, a signature on a PDF and a query asking why the Indigenous health budget for the Associate Dean – Indigenous for the Faculty has the same cost code as the the budget for the School, when the other Associate Deans have their own Faculty budget autonomous from anyone else’s’ in a School.

So here I am writing about the budget task. Not the Elders Visiting Programs, nor the review of the deaths in custody review. But, what’s best for me is to document and express my experiences – I have to get them out of my mind and body.

My emails take me ages to write. I’m wanting to then write about them here in this blog because the information I give in emails is valuable, considered and just, and it tends to get feedback like ‘That was very helpful; I had no idea and now I can see it better and will do in the future’.

Also/but, emails take me several drafts because I seem to believe I have to present a logical, justifiable, clear argument, yet one that is not a whinge and does not point out inequity experienced by Indigenous people compared to others that is currently perpetuated by colleagues too clearly either. One reason I ascribe to this thinking, even though I believe it is faulty, is that, based on experience, I will get no reply, get a terse reply, get e defensive reply, or, among others, get a reply to say ‘let’s just keep all Indigenous health budget together in one place’. I think when that strategy is used for people, and cultures, it is called assimilation. Should I use this here – ‘why is the Associate Dean budget assimilated into the School budget?’  Or vice versa. I didn’t. I’m still acting with ‘goodness’ knowing people are horrified their actions are so unconscious that they perpetuate atrocities of the past.

These are my thoughts today. I wonder how they will change and I have to allow them to change, and accept myself in my phases of development too. I think I have a propensity to see the best in things and have to make a quiet moment to concentrate, to critique. I want to believe things read well when they sentence by sentence literally read well. But good written expression is nothing compared to well-informed content.

I am sure I had to deal with this exact budget assimilation, and then budget segregation, in about 2008. I am here asking myself ‘Is it ok I am here experiencing this again, for me?’ ‘Is it helpful I have experienced this before, to somehow shape a better process now, that will have some type of better outcome?’ I think not, actually. I think that a different lot of humans will come along next time and make the same arbitrary decision/s without asking Indigenous people what suits, and without knowing there are better options like negotiation and flexibility underscored by holistic not separatist thinking.

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