Kaya Wanju

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Working together to create systematic change

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locationWhadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar

The Looking Forward Research Team is based on Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar. We acknowledge the Whadjuk people as the spiritual and cultural custodians of the land on which our offices reside. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging for without their knowledge, stories, generosity and commitment our projects would not be possible.

We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their lands and culture.

Our Vision

We see a future where Aboriginal people feel confident they can access any mental health or drug and alcohol service in Western Australia knowing they will receive culturally secure and responsive care.


Our Approach

We know that Aboriginal Elders and community members have the knowledge and skills to open minds and hearts to Aboriginal way of working and knowing. This is why we partner with Elders and Aboriginal community members to build meaningful relationships with mainstream mental health service providers and create systemic change. These relationships are foundational to trust, building bridges between those previously divided through historical and current colonial practises.

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Participatory Action Research that is built on:





"What it’s done for us is, is it’s given us what we call, there’s a little word called trust. We find it hard to trust ‘cause of our history, past history right"

- Elder 2018

Our story…

While there were many findings to come out of Michael’s PhD, one that led to this current work was how the mainstream health system is so difficult for Aboriginal people to access because of its lack of understanding about and respect for Aboriginal culture.

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"Now, we’re talking to the people who make the decisions about what their staff do and that’s gotta be a step forward. "

- Elder, 2017

locationWardandi Nyoongar Booja

Keys to our success

  1. Elders, and more recently youth, are our co-researchers throughout each stage of the work.
  2. Elders hold cultural authority. We respect and value their cultural knowledge and lived experiences.
  3. We utilise “storying” to break down barriers, build trust and rebalance power in order for meaningful relationships to grow
  4. We create supportive environments for the voices of Elders and youth to be heard and valued by senior workers in the mental health sector.

"We have shown that it is actually possible to transform an organisation if you engage with Elders"

- Service Partner, 2017