Decolonise This Space
Photo of author, Suzi Hutchings


Royal Commission
Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Knowledges theory
therapy, cross-cultural

How to Cite

Hutchings, S. (2021). Decolonise This Space. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 21(3).


The 15 th April 2016 marked the 25-year anniversary since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) in Australia handed down its Final Report. The report signified a landmark in the relationships between Indigenous Australians and the post-colonial State and Federal governments. Established by the Hawke Labor Government in 1987, the Commission examined 99 Indigenous deaths. Most significant was the finding that the deaths were due to the combination of police and prisons failing their duty of care, and the high numbers of Indigenous people being arrested and incarcerated.

In the wake of the RCIADIC, cross-cultural sessions and cultural competency workshops have become ubiquitous for public servants, therapists, and legal and welfare employees, in attempts to bridge gaps in cultural knowledge between agents of the welfare state and Indigenous clients. Using Indigenous Knowledges theory, this chapter assesses how cultural misalignments between Indigenous clients and those who work with them in the name of therapies designed to improve Indigenous lives, dominate cross-cultural interactions. In so doing the questions are posed: how do good intentions become part of the discourses and practices of on-going colonialism for Indigenous Australians, and what can be done to change the balance of power in favour of therapies of relevance to Indigenous people?


Japanese abstract






オーストラリアの「Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC)」が最終報告書を発表してから、2016年4月15日で25年が経過した。この報告書は、オーストラリアの先住民と植民地時代以降の州政府および連邦政府との関係において、画期的な出来事だった。この委員会は、1987年にホーク労働党政権によって設立され、99件の先住民の死を調査した。最も重大なのは、警察や刑務所が注意義務を怠ったことと、先住民が大量に逮捕・投獄されたことが重なって死亡したという結果である。





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