When consummate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storyteller Jane Harrison took the stand to receive the 2010 Dr Ross Ingram Memorial Essay Prize in late May, it was an opportunity to reflect on the growing involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the MJA — as authors, contributors and reviewers — since the competition’s inception 5 years ago. Jane’s winning essay, Healing our communities, healing ourselves, in which she explores the particular challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who work to improve Indigenous health while facing difficulties in their own lives, was published in the 17 May 2010 issue of the Journal. Jane is a descendant of the Muruwari people of New South Wales, from the area around Bourke and Brewarrina. Currently the Aboriginal Child Rearing Stories Project Officer at the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, she spent 6 years researching and writing the award-winning play, Stolen, which has brought the stories of Australia’s stolen generations to thousands of people in Australia and overseas since its release in 1998. Her other work includes the play, Rainbow’s end, and an episode of the popular SBS series, The circuit. In receiving her prize, Jane challenged those present to take their interest in Indigenous health and welfare beyond abstract gestures and endeavours to the personal level, by having real conversations and forging real relationships with Aboriginal people. Entries for next year’s Dr Ross Ingram Memorial Essay Competition are currently open. For full details see http://www.mja.com.au/public/information/RossIngramCompetition.html.
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