Many pioneers of critical pedagogy and popular education have suggested that a collective approach of critical reflection and action can help communities to develop a better understanding of their social realities and improve their well-being (Paulo Freire, 1972, Anne Hope and Sally Timmel, 1984, Alastair McIntosh and Matt Carmichael, 2006). This approach of critical conscientisation that includes collective memory work and training for transformation, have been tested with members of fishing communities on Numfor Island in the Indonesian Province of Papua. The results of this research are presented in this paper. The testimonies of participating community members suggest a causal link between their feelings of insecurity, structural oppression, economic policies that promote selfishness and fierce competition among individuals, and their own state of chronical poverty, indebtedness and dehumanisation. Participating community members have identified their increasing dependence on government handouts and a lack of market access as the critical drivers behind the rise of jealousy, anxiety and corruption, and the decline of communal solidarity. These trends are perceived to have escalated the selling of land and the degradation of the natural resource base that are critical to their livelihoods and well-being.