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Sharing Stories

We all have our own story inside us and this story can change. We have stories of hurting hearts, conflict and celebration too. Actually there is a deceptively simple process that can facilitate the healing reconciliation process inside us and between us: the sharing of stories.

Time and again, in our work as CASSE, we have found that sharing stories is the way both sides of the racial divide can learn, grow and reconcile. This exchange of stories is a psychoanalytic process (the underlying approach we take at CASSE), which relies on remembering, finding, experiencing, and listening to the journeys that have led to the racial divide. Shared stories can create a bridge to the divide.

It’s our belief, based on actual and emotional experience, that a psychoanalytic approach can be applied as readily to a community as it can to an individual. This surprising idea is suited to helping all Australians understand and bridge the racial divide. Given time, it can help us all to develop good relations inside and between us - kurunna mwarre for all.

Early in September in Alice Springs, the Arrente people shared their stories with a large crowd at The Telegraph Station. Eminent Aboriginal men and women from across Central Australia launched Every hill got a story, the Centre’s first comprehensive oral history collection. 'Every hill got a story' chronicles the breathtaking rate and scale of change experienced by 127 notable Aboriginal people, as told in their own words and many languages. Read this fabulous account by Kieran Finnane in Alice Springs News Online.

Then there was the Alice Desert Festival of Lights. Wrote Kinane: “Maybe it’s time we expanded our repertoire when it comes to acknowledging the Arrente stories of this place: caterpillars are not the only totems and they’ve dominated for more than a decade now!”

Let us share our stories and look back and look forward, like the Arrente people and foster the process of reconciliation.

Pamela Nathan

CASSE Aboriginal Australian Relations Program


Breakthrough Violence!

'Breakthrough Violence' is CASSE's new Group Program for the prevention and treatment of violence. The 15 week program will be offered through the Alice Springs Men's Shed Research Project (see below). CASSE can also provide training for organisations interested in delivering the program. For more information contact us.

Over the 15 week program, participants explore the emotional experiences of violence and search for their own solutions under the safe guidance of experienced, qualified trainers. The psychoanalytic framework uses mentalisation - focusing on awareness of mental states which can facilitate secure attachment relationships.

New Training Session on Mentalising Violence

"Mentalisation: thinking about ourselves, others and violence" is a new training session being offered by CASSE, prepared by Andrew Powell and Pamela. Pamela Nathan workshopped the presentation with the Ingkintja men in Alice Springs and lively and emotional discussions were held on violence and trauma.

For more information about this session and other resources available through CASSE, visit our website: http://www.casse.org.au/what-we-deliver/resources/ or contact us


What is Recognition? Noel Pearson Shares His Views

Save the date!

Noel Pearson & Jonathan Lear in Conversation
Sydney, December 8, 2015

Noel Pearson is one of Australia’s foremost indigenous leaders and political activists. His Quarterly Essay ‘Radical Hope’ explicitly refers to the inspirational notion of radical hope developed by the renowned philosopher and psychoanalyst Jonathan Lear.

Pearson and Lear are both concerned about the survival of indigenous peoples and the possibility that they could flourish under an indigenous identity within a changing world. Pearson and Lear will discuss the complex question of the recognition of indigenous peoples in light of the proposed referendum on recognising indigenous peoples in the Constitution. What is recognition? What kind of acknowledgement is involved? How does recognition affect the identities of both sides?

Pearson and Lear will join prominent indigenous academic, Marcia Langton, Professor of Political Philosophy, Duncan Ivison and CASSE's Pamela Nathan to discuss questions from constitutional, philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives in this exciting event, organised by Sydney Ideas, the Constitution Education Fund Australia and Psyche & Society.

The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences of the University of Sydney, Baker & McKenzie, CASSE, the Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the Australian Psychoanalytic Society.

Register your interest in this important event now! Contact Us


Tjilirra – Healing Spirits, Building Cultural Pride, Funding Futures

Tjilirra – is an ancient word for the tools that have been central to the strength of the Pintupi culture for millennia.

In this program, funded and supported by CASSE, The Men’s Tjilirra Movement is about making traditional tools and sharing traditional stories between the elders and the young men in the remote communities of the western and central desert region.

It is an empowering process, providing recognition, identity affirmation and a continuity-in-being. The Men’s Tjilirra Movement is also working towards providing a source of income and independence for the men.

Yubu Napa Showcases First Tjilirra

We are proud to announce that Alice Springs’ Yubu Napa is the first art gallery to display and present tjilirra for sale!

Yubu Napa’s curator Ric Farmer said, "Yubu Napa cannot think of a better program for the male elders to teach their sons and grandsons how these boomerangs, spears, shields and coolamons were made traditionally. We have been excited to see the work done by these talented men ever since! Being the first Alice Springs gallery to be a part of the project, we would encourage all other galleries here to get involved and support this very important initiative!!"

If you are interested in purchasing tjilirra produced by the Men’s Tjilirra Movement, contact us.


Tjilirra Maker Profile - Justin Allen

Justin Allen with one of his beautifully carved kulis

Justin Allen is a Pintupi man. His home land is west of Mt Liebig at Murrantji, to the lakes of Kintore and Kiwirrkurra. The father of four sons, he currently lives at Five Mile, Papunya. He grew up at the Yaya settlement west of Papunya, with the Pintupi people who walked back onto their country and made their home at Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, and has also lived at Haasts Bluff and Mt Liebig over time.

Justin carves kuli (boomerangs) and animals.

Justin is thrilled to have made his first sale of boomerangs to the Yupu Napa Gallery. In this photo he holds a 'Number 7' belonging to the old time. Justin finds telling the stories while making the boomerangs empowering. He says he feels strong. The making of tjilirra is a transformative process - the past exists in the present with recognition, respect, responsibility and new creative possibilities that promote emotional strength and wellbeing.


At Work With RJCP

The successful trial partnership between the Men’s Tjilirra Movement and the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) is being extended. According to RJCP staff, the Men’s Tjilirra Movement is the first 'cultural program' to be adopted by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

CASSE's Tjilirra Project Manager, Jamie Millier Tjupurrula, works closely with local police and service providers talking with the men about drugs and violence. He has spent much of the past nine months working and living in the homelands with the men, and has engaged with over 60 men on the program since its inception.

Watch out for weekly updates from Jamie, to be posted soon on the CASSE Blog:

"The men and I travelled to an area between Papunya and Haasts Bluff and I continued the quest for the kuli (boomerang). We stopped multiple times and walked the surrounding bush looking for the right shaped trees to cut. Justin and I were the leaders and we found some good kuli and got the young men to do the hard work. They dug and cut out the specified wood for the kuli. There was a presence of happiness and pride and not once did I hear or experience any negativity. There was utmost respect for Justin and the young men engaged with him and asked for his advice on many occasions  Justin shared some of his story of his family and some of the stories of punu that is in his family held by uncles and grandfathers."

Is the Men's Tjilirra Movement being run by CASSE?

No. CASSE found the funding for the movement that the men themselves determined important. Jamie provides a facilitating environment for the making of tjilirra: an environment of two-way learning and talking on country.

This is how CASSE works. We empower individuals and communities and partner with other organisations in the delivery of programs in order to change minds and save lives.

Gathering materials



Making tjilirrra

At work in Haasts Bluff

At work in Haasts Bluff

Men's Shed Project Appoints New Aboriginal Male Research Assistant

CASSE and the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation's (CAACAC) joint project to develop and evaluate a model of best practice for Aboriginal Men's Sheds in Alice Springs/Central Australia have news!

We welcome David Dolman, an Arrente man, who has extensive living and working experiences within Aboriginal communities. David has completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Regional Education and Community Development and is an accredited facilitator of the Cross Borders Family Violence Program. David is recognised by the community as a man and has many links to other community members within Central Australia.


Changing Minds, Saving Lives - Psychoanalytic Insights

Welcome to Pamela Nathan's monthly psychoanalytic blog in which she takes simple gems from the psychoanalytic dreamtime that may become tools for living....

How Stories Are Healing The Racial Divide

Following the controversy over the treatment of footballer Adam Goodes, it’s time to radically rethink our approach to healing the racial divide. Despite millions spent, deep divisions remain, and the human toll is tragic. What’s the answer?

In order to create a safe, supportive environment for all Australians, we need to find and tell the stories from both sides. We need to feel the feelings associated with them, and make sense of the stories...


And if you have missed any of the articles in our Psychoanalytic Insights Series, they are all available online:  http://www.casse.org.au/what-we-deliver/resources/


You can start working with us to change minds and save lives now!

Donations make possible:

  • A vehicle, and its running costs, for the Men's Tjilirra Movement.
  • Employment of Elders to work as cultural and tjilirra supervisors.
  • Purchasing tools for the project.

To make a donation, please contact us: phone 0450 540 366 or email enquiries@cassse.org.au or donate via the website.

CASSE Australia Inc (ABN: 17811 536 315) is registered in Australia as a Deductible Gift Recipient. All donations over $2 made to CASSE Australia are tax deductible and go directly towards supporting our programs.

How else can you support our work?