Culturally secure community development

Fredrik Velander, Andreia Schineanu

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores community development from a vantage point where culture is essential in empowering communities and unlocking the full potential of self-efficacy for successful and sustainable change. We approach the concept of culturally secure community development from the context of Indigenous communities across the world; however, for the purposes of this chapter, we have considered the situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. The chapter begins by providing an overview of the current situation of Indigenous populations across the world, and specifically in Australia. Within this context we present a brief overview of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history of colonization and dispossession and concurrent racism and how they gave rise to the current discrepancy in life expectancies and socioeconomic status. The concept of community, health and healing from an Aboriginal perspective are used to highlight differences between Aboriginal and Western worldviews and values, and how they define well-being. Culturally secure community development can only occur when strength-based practice is used and we move away from the notion of best practice towards a concept of wise practice, which is more appropriate for Aboriginal communities. The chapter concludes with a case study of the Norseman Aboriginal Community to illustrate aspects of wise practice and culturally secure community development and to exemplify the process undertaken to empower the community to address their health issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity work
Subtitle of host publicationTheories, experiences & challenges
EditorsKalpana Goel, Venkat Pulla, Abraham P. Francis
Place of PublicationBangalore, India
PublisherNiruta Publications
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9788192332673
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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