Dog Ear Cafe is a true-life adventure story about how one Aboriginal community beat the odds and defeated petrol sniffing. It tells of the Mt Theo Petrol Sniffing Program: a story of culture clash, of two lines of fire that meet in the desert night, of partnerships that cross Australia’s racial divide.
Hear the interview on ABC Radio National here.
Woven throughout are humour, taboos, bush mechanics, hope and tragedy. In a colloquial and narrative manner, this book invites the reader to a deeper analysis of the assumptions behind white and black economics, indigenous alcoholism, welfare dependency and the failure of well intended policy and programs. Hidden in the subtext is a mud map for reproducing successful partnerships with indigenous Australians. The Mt Theo Program was founded in 1994, when half the teenage population of Yuendumu were sniffing. Eight years later no one sniffed, and ex-sniffers had become youth leaders and community workers. The elders of Mt Theo used their traditional bush knowledge to turn lives around.
“Dog Ear Café shows that real change in Aboriginal communities is possible; that there can be solutions to seemingly intractable problems … A highly readable mix of personal narrative, anthropology and advice, Dog Ear Café argues for community involvement, flexibility, understanding … and a lack of cynicism.” (Lorien Kaye, The Age 4 Sept 2010)