Dr Tanya Riches talks about lack of representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in Australian Church

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Dr. Tanya Riches and Larissa Minnieconn. Photo credit – Rachel Chow

Cadbury Centre Honorary Associate Dr Tanya Riches and Kabi Kabi/Gureng Gureng/Torres Strait Islander woman Larissa Minnieconn addressed the Christian Media & Arts Australia on 17 May 2017 under the theme of “Legacy,” presenting a future vision for the Australian church.

In particular, they spoke honestly of the lack of representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christians, with Larissa speaking of her ancestor being “blackbirded” (enslaved) in Vanuatu. 

Dr Riches said that in follow-up conversations it become clear that one leading Christian media organization with over 16,000 hours of content only had two half-hour pieces on Aboriginal Australians. According to Dr Riches, these kinds of stories highlight “The Aboriginal Disadvantage of Social Exclusion” as present in the church. Dr Riches believes that globally, "we have great responsibility to continue to advocate for more diversity in the images of what Christianity is, and the issues that Christians are willing to face." For her, living in Oceania, there are large groups of Indigenous Christians who are vulnerable to poverty and environmental degradation.