Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Narratives from Ageing Indigenous Women in Australia

Dune, T., Stewart, J., Tronc, W., Lee, V., Mapedzahama, V., Firdaus, R., Mekonnen, T.


There is an increasing body of work identifying and analyzing notions of resilience from indigenous perspectives. Notwithstanding the utility of this research for the Australian context (some parallels may be cautiously inferred for some Indigenous Australian groups), critical knowledge gaps exist in our understanding of how Australian Indigenous peoples, particularly Indigenous women, construct, perform and express resilience. This paper addresses this gap by presenting data from focus group discussions with 11 Indigenous Australian women, which highlights how the women confront the everyday challenges of ‘being Indigenous’. The women spoke of not only of a strong sense of identity in the face of negative stereotypes but also demonstrated their ability to adapt to change, rebound from negative historical socio-cultural and political systemic changes and ways to keep their identities and cultures strong within contemporary Australia. We contend that a focus on Indigenous resilience is more significant for social change because it not only moves away from deficit-discourses about Indigenous Australian groups, it highlights their remarkable strengths in adapting, recovering and continuing in white-centric, antagonistic conditions.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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