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Hayley Jones: The World Indigenous Cancer Congress took place in Naarm/Melbourne under the theme of ‘Process, Progress, Power’
Mar 23, 2024, 01:15

Hayley Jones: The World Indigenous Cancer Congress took place in Naarm/Melbourne under the theme of ‘Process, Progress, Power’

Hayley Jones, Director at McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, shared on LinkedIn:

The World Indigenous Cancer Congress took place in my hometown of Naarm/Melbourne this week. Under the theme of ‘Process, Progress, Power,’ it was an outstanding opportunity to hear Indigenous leaders of New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the United States share their insights on cancer prevention and control and strategies to reduce inequities.

This experience was miles above “death by PowerPoint” in a dark room.

This event was brought to life with Indigenous cultures threaded throughout the thoughtful program of activities. From the beautiful welcome dances from Djirri Djirri, to the sounds of yidaki (didgeridoo), handing over the boomerang from the previous Canadian hosts to the Australian committee, and the joy of hearing so many Maori songs and music interspersed between wonderful presentations from our friends in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Presentations covered a broad range of topics reflecting success and ongoing challenges, such as:

– How Maori people had led the charge on Aoteoroa/New Zealand’s tobacco-free generation/endgame measures – upholding a tradition of resistance but weaving in humor too;
– How we need to do better in Australia on looking after our Indigenous workforce, and some great insights from Cancer Council Victoria’s Colin Darcy on building a supportive ally workplace;
– Successes in cervical cancer screening initiatives in Canadian communities, where self-testing has been made available
– Gaps in data about Indigenous people and cancer, and how this needs to be urgently addressed to build a full picture and redress imbalances; and how data sovereignty for Indigenous people must be integral;
– How can we navigate the constant tension of power imbalances between organizations and the legacy of colonialism.

Aside from presentations, there were also opportunities to join a “Yarning Circle” to reflect in small groups on the presentations, and a cultural walk, amongst many other opportunities to learn more.

Indigenous leaders have achieved some great wins in addressing cancer in their communities, but there is no doubt much more that needs to be done. Hopefully WICC can reconvene soon and involve more Indigenous leaders from other countries to keep sustaining collective efforts to end the inequities in cancer.

Kudos to the organizing committee led by Dr. Kalinda Griffiths, the VCCC Alliance, IARC – International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization; it was such a well-designed program – thanks for making Naarm shine as host city!

It was great to have members of the McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer team attending, as well as colleagues from Cancer Council Victoria, Cancer Council Australia, and many other organizations. Let’s keep the momentum going! WICC2024.”

Source: Hayley Jones/LinkedIn