Final Footprints video starts important but challenging conversation on ‘death and dying’

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Final Footprints video starts important but challenging conversation on ‘death and dying’

A new palliative care video resource, Final Footprints: My Culture, My Kinship, My Country, launched online today during NAIDOC Week, examines safe and appropriate ways to approach the challenging subject of ‘death and dying’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 

The video highlights the importance of having discussions early on with your kin and community and having your final wishes written down and provides food for thought on the importance of palliative care. 

The video will be showcased today during a live webcast hosted by ABC Presenter Dan Bourchier, with an expert First Nations panel sharing their cultural knowledge and experiences and examining how traditional and modern ways may successfully co-exist in today’s society. 

Yawuru man Jonathan Dodson-Jauncey, a palliative care expert and the President of Palliative Care Northern Territory, features in both the video and on today’s panel. 

Mr Dodson-Jauncey says awareness and understanding of palliative care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is one of the biggest issues. 

“Whilst our people have been looking after our old people for thousands of years, if you go across all our Aboriginal tribes right across Australia, you won’t find a word for palliative care. 

“Our people are often misinformed; they’re frightened of it because they believe palliative care is simply caring for someone in the final days of their life. Whereas palliative care is bigger than that. It’s about caring for people much earlier on and giving them the quality of life,” Mr Dodson-Jauncey said. 

The webcast will examine the importance of Country, and being on Country, especially near the end of one’s life or for ceremony, the use of ‘death and dying’ language in community and why it is uncomfortable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to talk about end-of-life 

 The panel will also discuss why it’s important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to express their ‘finishing up’ wishes and talk about palliative care while they are well. 

“We’re living in a society now where there are two worlds coming together, and in many ways, our traditional ways and our culture is slipping away. 

“Many of the people who hold the information are our elders, and it’s important we are having these conversations so these people can be well enough in their later stages of life to pass on the culture and those stories,” Mr Dodson Jauncey said. 

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) Chief Executive Officer and PCA’s Reconciliation Action Plain champion Camilla Rowland says the video offers important cultural learnings about our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their traditions, and how we can all contribute to supporting these. 

“As the national peak body for palliative care, our mission is to influence, foster and promote the delivery of quality palliative care for all who need it, when and where they need it. 

“Palliative care must be seen as a universal human right, available to all Australians, but also delivered in a way that respects and honours traditions, values and cultural practices of our First Nation People”, Ms Rowland said. 

PCA has this week also launched its second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which lays out important steps that PCA will be undertaking to work towards reconciliation in Australia.  

“PCA was a founding member of the National Close the Gap Committee in 2006, and PCA remains committed to strengthening and growing our collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities,” Ms Rowland said. 

Download PDF of Media release: Final Footprints video starts important but challenging conversation on ‘death and dying’ - 08 July 2021

Media contact: Jeremy Henderson – 0425 559 710 –


Having a Yarn – Final Footprints – Live Webcast