Noel Pearson - Narrative/storying on an Indigenous Person's Health Journey


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Noel Pearson is an aboriginal activist and respected leader of the community. He belongs to Guugu Yiithirr aboriginal community which is at Hope Vale, a Lutheran mission upon Cape York Peninsula. He completed his graduation from University of Sydney with an honours degree in History. He made thesis in his honours which were based on history of Hope Vale Lutheran mission from the year 1900 to 1950. He was a co-founder and executive, e director of Cape York Land council in 1990. He was also a legal advisor for the Torres Strait islander and aboriginal commission. He constantly advised various indigenous organisations within Cape York. Noel Pearson is a complex, inherently modest, shy and difficult person. He is very demanding from politicians, media and his own indigenous group. Further, Noel is very difficult to contact, devastating to debate and impossible to predict. He completely dislikes alcohol and hate its impact on his indigenous sisters and brothers, the irresponsible conduct and violence it stimulated along with the inattention of children because unconscious parents cannot nurture or protect their children properly. Pearson has developed a model for empowering indigenous society which aims at fostering entrepreneurship in order to improve productivity of economy. In addition, model focuses on improving education and health outcomes. He is a part of indigenous aboriginal community of Australia who suffers from mental health and illness accompanied with depression.

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Mental illness and depression is a common problem faced by Indigenous people and it is framed in a big picture which is related to historical events, cultural differences, cultural and social changes. The main cause of mental illness and depression in these people is loss of culture, identify and land, overt and covert racism, powerlessness and marginalisation. The Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that Indigenous people are twice likely to experience psychological distress as compared to non-indigenous people. Morris and Pearson concluded that as an effect of depression carried by people is extending to the well-being of the families, societies and communities. Former Prime minister Paul Keating once described Noel, as one of the finest public speaker he ever heard. Pearson’s ability to articulate a policy or an argument makes him different from any intellectual crowd. In the late 80’s, Pearson joined with various other indigenous leaders who were fighting for land rights. However, it was the first time Australia saw the effectiveness and clarity of argument by an Aboriginal lawyer. Pearson had a brash tone along with the zeal of activism which attracted many listeners. The qualities he developed were due to a strict Lutheran upbringing with his four brothers and sisters at Hopevale community on Cape York. His father was lay preacher and butcher there. Pearson was proud of his aboriginal heritage and use to speak constantly on his ideal as well as indigent childhood. He faced many issues related to health especially mental health in his childhood such as child abuse, racism, depression, poverty, etc. He overcome all these issues by his will of doing something good for the community or society, so that the upcoming generation do not face str such issues or problems in their upbringing and life. His family has faced many issues such as poverty, loss of land, racism which was very disturbing for Pearson.

An Australian government debate on indigenous domestic violence, which was conducted in the year 2003 and 2004. The council of Australian government signed a National framework on Child protection and Indigenous family violence. Noel Pearson made an argument on the importance of intervention with regards to a major issue, Ab Aboriginal child sexual abuse. Reported by Masters and Uhr concluded that issues of child abuse within northern territory aboriginal communities is searching a critical point and he initiated the national emergency response. This response included various interventions such as suspension of racial discrimination act, deployment of health workers and police, compulsory management of Aboriginal people’s income, compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land and a ban on alcohol. Noel indicated qualified support for all these measures but also received several criticisms for the same. In the year 2012, the outspoken and charismatic indigenous leader Noel Pearson has fallen quiet for few months due to his undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. Although the cancer was in remission, Pearson had critical six months according to the latest problem within a magazine The Monthly. Noel admitted that he had many bad thoughts during these months. He also said that cancer was very close to defeating him and he was constantly being drugged which impacted her vison ability. . Pearson was almost near to death as he told to many reporters and editors. Even after so much pain he somehow managed to survive and sustain as a most important and supported leader of the indigenous and aboriginal community.

Noel Pearson said that he came across various complex situation, arguments or critics to make them a larger point. A main reason that made him an influential person at present is his ability to survive during a period within which other indigenous leaders or representatives and organisations were removed while fighting for recognitions and equity. Pearson individually builds his agenda and maintained his autonomy while white authorities and agencies slowly had any power they ever conceded over various indigenous affairs. He is both pragmatist and idealist, both a supporter and an intelligent critic of state led interventions in to indigenous lives. It is more reliable to state that Pearson has effectively navigated the troubled area between governments, mainstream news media, indigenous people and Indigenous community whichchanged his involvement in order to dispense his weaknesses. The network he has made-up runs at a region from both government and Pearson himself. Further, Noel is able to collaborate with initiatives, given the opportunity, but it is able to endure the collapse of a funding source, the criticism of a single organ, or the ‘reform’ of a single sector. In the national context, the network Pearson has made-up in Cape York has been uniquely successful in surviving and earning more and more assistance from journalists, governments and the non-Indigenous people likewise.

Noel Pearson’s story is very essential to be shared as it demonstrates how he developed his skills and leadership qualities to promote benefits and equal status for indigenous and aboriginal community. Moreover, Noel was focused on seeking help from various supporting agencies as well as policies in favour of people suffering from mental illness and depression. He faced many issues himself in his childhood along with his brother and sisters. Pearson started his fight for indigenous people to provide them a better upbringing and life. His aim was to remove all the negative elements in the community such as racism, child sex abuse, alcohol and drugs, loss of land, etc. which are negatively affecting people’s mental health. Major aim of Noel Pearson was to develop equity among people of each and every community, and remove discrimination that was faced by the people. Pearson has developed a model for empowering indigenous society which aim at fostering entrepreneurship in order to improve productivity of economy. In addition, model focuses on improving education and health outcomes. He became a true and respected leader for indigenous people by making most significant arguments. Noel Pearson is not only recognised as a great political leader, but he is symbolised as a strong individuals who fiught for justice and well-being of his people even after getting so close to death. He survived political conflicts, disputes, cancer and many issues but at last he achieved success with his enthusiasm, dedication and activism.

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