Honouring Our Strengths - Moving Forward


  • Scott Gorringe Stronger Smarter Institute, Queensland University of Technology




deficit discourse, Aboriginal education, community engagement, Engoori, negative stereotypes


Persistent perceptions of deficit and conflict have characterised and constrained the history of relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians since contact. The success of their saturation is apparent in a continuing approach that presents the response to Aboriginal needs in terms of health and education 'gaps‘; 'the Aboriginal problem‘, 'mainstreaming (making them more like us)‘ or 'interventions‘ (and all the lack of ability that such a word implies).

Language in programs and the underlying approach to address very real health, economic and social need continues to carry (and replicate) an implicit assumption of deficit and a positioning of the locus of control away from Aboriginal people (i.e. service 'delivery‘ instead of service 'access‘).

This paper recognises that an erosive mindset of deficit perceptions of Aboriginality is also being widely adopted by Aboriginal people by ourselves and other Aboriginal people – that if un-discussed will continue to impact on the Aboriginal struggle. This paper will unpack an Aboriginal framework (Engoori) that can reconnect people and reignite authentic community engagement discussions.




How to Cite

Gorringe, S. (2011). Honouring Our Strengths - Moving Forward. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 21(1), 21–37. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v21i1.590