chapter  3
14 Pages

Death and Health: The Resilience of ‘Sorry Business’ in the Kutjungka Region of Western Australia

A few years ago, a young Aboriginal man in Broome prison heard that one of his father’s older brothers had died in the Northern Territory. While this older man had, in many ways, become a ‘father’ for him as he entered adolescence (his own father had died when he was about three years old), he knew that prison guidelines, costs and communication between the prison and his family would likely preclude him from attending the funeral. The day before the ceremony, after thinking about it and getting some materials together, he announced to the prison wardens that he was going to commit suicide that night: ‘I’m thinking of doing something silly’, he said to one of them, ‘I’m thinking of hanging myself tonight’. He later recalled, ‘I wanted to make them see how much it meant to me’.1