Ámà: 4 Days on Caring, Repairing and Healing

This glossary isn’t exhaustive or universally applicable. It has been compiled especially for Ámà: 4 Days on Caring, Repairing and Healing to facilitate a contextual understanding of some terms in the event texts.

Ámà: 4 Days on Caring, Repairing and Healing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

is an adjective that acknowledges the diversity of hundreds of First Nations across Australia including in the islands of the Torres Strait. “Aboriginal” refers to cultures and peoples from the mainland of Australia and islands including, among others, Tasmania and Fraser Island. “Torres Strait Islander” refers to peoples and cultures from the hundreds of islands of the Torres Strait off the north coast of Australia.

Access Intimacy

is a term coined by disability justice advocate Mia Mingus. It describes a relation in which access needs are genuinely understood and respected between disabled people, or disabled and non-disabled people. Access needs may vary from person to person and should be acknowledged to limit exclusion based on ability.


are First Nation Australians located in the Western Desert cultural bloc, see Pitjantjatjara.


is a term that indicates the epoch of human influence and transformation of Earth. It postulates that human impact on the planet is profound enough to justify a distinct geological era characterised by mass extinction of animals and plants, global warming, ocean acidification and habitat destruction. The starting date of the Anthropocene is debated and widely varies, from the domestication of plants and the birth of agriculture to the industrial revolution.


is an acronym standing for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.


is the process of undoing the hegemonic pretence of universality of systems of knowledge rooted in European tradition. The term also indicates the historical process of dismantling the political, bodily, spiritual and economic oppression perpetrated by colonial empires. It indicates the on-going critique of Western ethnocentrism on one hand, and the legitimisation of epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies that are not rooted in the history of Western thought on the other.


refers to communities of people who share a common ancestral homeland, culture and/or religion and are scattered in different parts of the world. It also indicates the process of dispersion itself. Originally used to refer to the dispersion of the Jews, the term was adopted to describe all populations that were displaced due to colonialism, enslavement, war or communal violence.


describes the process of developing or increasing autonomy and self-determination on an individual level or as a community. Empowerment generally refers to the increased control over one’s life, the protection of basic human rights, as well as promoting collective agency within communities and advancing social policies.


indicates the theory and study of knowledge in terms of its nature, structure, conditions of possibility and limits. It is the set of notions and ideas defining what constitutes knowledge, as opposed to beliefs and opinions, as well as what can be the subject of knowledge and what can’t.

First Nations

is an increasingly popular term for grassroots movements and cultural institutions in Australia, which also acknowledges this diversity and the sovereignty of peoples who have been living on the continent and practicing a continuous culture for over 60,000 years.

gender non-conforming

denotes people, behaviours and ideas that do not conform with gender expressions prescribed by binary categories of “man” and “woman”.


describes the social and political belief that maintains heterosexuality as a preferred or “normal” sexual orientation. It is based on gender binaries – the distinct and “complementary” genders of man and woman – and promotes the belief in “natural” social roles. Integral to heteronormativity is the idea that sexual, romantic and conjugal relations between cisgender men and cisgender women are intrinsically “normal” and other sexual or romantic orientations are deviant.


is a term that in Australia encompasses both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is preferred by Australian government agencies. Indigenous, is also used in international contexts. For example, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People was ratified in 2007.


describes someone whose physical attributes do not fit the typical anatomical binary of male or female. This can include genetic material such as chromosomes or glands including gonads. These attributes may vary during the course of an individual’s life and manifest in different ways and stages. Being intersex refers to biological sex characteristics and does not denote a specific gender identity or sexual orientation.


describes how a person’s experience of discrimination must always be considered as the result of overlapping and interconnecting systems of oppression. Intersectionality rejects the idea of a universal experience of womanhood or gender, instead favouring a more holistic understanding of oppression and social inequalities. This happens through the intertwining and interplay of race, gender, class, ethnicity, age, ability, sexuality, nationality and religion. The term was formalised by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 in the context of Black women’s employment in the US.


indicates a process, a fluid concept and system of socio-cultural ties between members of a family or group. It can be based on genealogical bonds, birth, marriage, adoption or social agreements such as friendship or love that are established through social dependency and affiliation, and are in a state of permanent renegotiation. As an element of social organisation, kinship manifests shared ancestral ties, spiritual legacies and collective memories within human and more-than-human communities. The concept has long been lived and discussed, especially by non-western and Indigenous communities.

mixed heritage

or “mixed race” designates the racial or ethnic identity of people who belong to two or more distinct racial backgrounds. This conceptual framework emphasises the tendency to identify with a notion of “mixed-ness” rather than with one or multiple racial backgrounds.


defines approaches that depart from anthropocentric visions of the world. It promotes ecological perspectives on forms of cooperation between human and non-human subjectivities. It rejects the centrality of humans, as well as views regarding humanity as autonomous and self-determined.


is the word for a traditional healer. Each First Nation language has its own name for them, i.e. Wiradjuri people call them “murundhaany”. Ngangkari are traditional healers who belong to the Anangu, located in South Australia and the Western Desert Region. They take care of the physical and psychic health of members of their communities.


refers to people who do not identify as a “man” or “woman”. Within the spectrum of non-binary identities, some people identify with certain aspects of binary identities, while others reject the gender binary.


describes a social system that establishes a hierarchy of cis men over women and other genders. In patriarchal systems, institutions and social practices are informed by the social privilege and control of cis men, putting women and non-binary genders at a disadvantage. The resulting inequality and perceived inferiority is legitimised and reinforced through structural bias.


is an acronym for People/Person of Colour and describes people who regardless of skin tone do not fall within the racialised classification of “white”. The umbrella term emphasises the common experience of structural racism against communities who self-designate as People of Colour.


refer to themselves as Anangu (people). Their Nation extends over three Australian states: From South Australia to the Northern Territory and into Western Australia.


is both a theory and therapeutic practice, treating a spectrum of mental conditions. Coined by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century, psychoanalysis pays attention to unconscious processes. In psychoanalytic treatment, the patient is encouraged to talk freely about dreams or early childhood memories. The aim is to bring what exists at the unconscious level up to consciousness. Psychoanalysis is built on the foundational idea that one’s behaviour is determined by experiences from one’s past that are lodged in the unconscious mind.


is an acronym standing for Queer People of Colour.


is an acronym standing for Queer, Trans*, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.


defines people who do not identify as heteroromantic, heterosexual and/or cisgender. Literally meaning “strange”, the term was formerly used as a derogatory slur, but has since been reclaimed by the queer community as a gesture of empowerment that speaks to a subversive legacy.


indicates the process that constructs “race” as a mode of categorisation, marginalisation and oppression of a group of people based on perceived ethnic differences. It is an essential process in the creation and reproduction of racial meanings that are ascribed to religion, labour and gender.


is a term coined by Sámi political scientist Jovnna Jon Ánne Kirstte Rávdná/Rauna Kuokkanen. It indicates a revival of indigenous principles of equality between genders as is traditionally maintained among Sámi communities. Rematriation is an affirmative expression of Sámi women’s social and political agency. It also acts as a gesture of spiritual and cultural rehabilitation in the process of Sàpmi decolonisation.


are the indigenous people who inhabit Sápmi, a region stretching over large northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian territory of the Kola Peninsula. Sámi have struggled with the recognition of their sovereign rights, languages, material culture and community life, including cultural autonomy, political representation, environmental conservation, the decolonisation of spiritual inheritance and traditional livelihoods.


is a decolonial word for the South West Asian and North African region instead of Middle Eastern, Near Eastern, Arab World or Islamic World, which have colonial, orientalist and Eurocentric origins.

Tao of the voice

is a vocal method developed by Stephen Chun-Tao Cheng. It combines traditional Chinese philosophy and breathing practices with western vocal techniques and modern psychophysical exercises.


is one of many Aboriginal communities in Australia who come from the Tiwi Islands. The society is based on matrilineal descent and lays particular emphasis on cultural and artistic practices.

Tiwi Islands

are islands that are located approximately 80 kilometres north of Darwin in the Arafura Sea. The Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory in Australia and consist of two large inhabited islands including Melville and Bathurst, also called Ratuwati Yinjara (two islands) and numerous smaller islands.


is a term coined by scholar and activist Emi Koyama. It indicates the movement of trans* women who regard their liberation as inherently entwined with that of all women. A more general definition of transfeminism includes all approaches to feminism integrating trans politics. Transfeminism is also open to queer, intersex people, trans* men, non-trans* women, non-trans* men, in alliance with trans* women liberation struggles.


also transgender, defines people whose gender identity does not coincide with the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans* people may or may not identify according to a gender binary of “masculine” or “feminine”.

two spirit

indicates people in Native communities who fulfil non-binary gender roles, such as third-gender or non-conforming variants. The term is attributed to Dr. Elder Myra Laramee and exclusively used in the context of North American Native or First Nations traditional cultures. Although non-conforming gender roles have existed for centuries in Indigenous communities/cultures, two spirit was coined in the 1990s as an umbrella term to define a spectrum of gender identities, making them legible across Native and non-Native cultures.


is an Australian First People (Aboriginal) Nation and language is a Pama–Nyungan language of the Wiradhuric subgroup located in western New South Wales, Australia.


is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is one of the Wati languages, belonging to the large Pama–Nyungan family. It is one of the many varieties of the Western Desert Language, all of which are mutually intelligible.