There is lots of power in indigenous knowledge holders coming together at international venues such as the conference on health promotion IUHPE currently taking place at Geneva. While in 2004 indigenous representatives still were not truly taking part in this important event, nowadays, after lots of indigenous lobbying there are many indigenous oral presentation sessions, guided poster tours as well as a daily symposium in which people share their stories about health promotion activities that are greatly successful in indigenous communities and which are based on culturally appropriate approaches and interventions.
`There have been far too many of our people dying far too young,` Bernadette, an Aboriginal woman from the Northern Territories simply explains her motivation to dedicate her life to safe lives. Alexandra from Canada reflects: `My motivation going into medicine was I`ve seen all the deficits. I was drawn into it because of all the health inequalities.`
The lack of appropriate assessment tools for indigenous peoples is recognized. Carol a First nations healer promptly shares her experiences with native drug and alcohol abuse programs in Canada: `We do not assess by deficits, but by cultural strength.` Cultural identity has a big part in the assessments and healing in these programs.
In line with this Morgan from New South Wales maintains about evaluation: `We have to get accepted all forms of evidence, not just the western model. Evaluation can be a narrative or a story.` `However it is a matter of have the will to do the funding,` another indigenous delegate adds.
`We have to discuss colonization, not only passed but present Alexandra summarizes the day`s symposium in her concluding remarks.