White Men Are Liars by Margaret Bain

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Day by day Aboriginal peoples and Westerners attempt to communicate with each other, but the results are very uneven. Communication ranges from good to poor. Difficulties occur most often in cross-cultural dealings that involve traditional Indigenous peoples, that is, people for whom an Indigenous language as their first language and who may well live on a remote community.

In such places contact with Westerners is relatively limited and despite real efforts to understand each other, problems in mutual understanding still occur. This book considers that difficulty and uncovers an underlying factor through which many problems can be explained.

"[This book] is a sobering but educational read for all of us involved in trying to work with Aboriginal people for whom English is not their first language, to improve their material circumstances and reduce social disadvantage. 

It is to be hoped that the book will be read by many people including those who are involved in policy formation and delivery as well as the many new individuals coming into the field of working with Indigenous people. Most will bring good hearts and good intentions to their attempts to formulate and to implement policy.

Bain's book reminded me yet again that few of us bring sufficient humility to the task of understanding those with whom we are dealing.

If we could communicate accurately we are more likely to get beyond good intentions and to achieve the changes Indigenous people want for themselves and their communities". - Fred Chaney