This report looks at the 21 projects funded from 2011 - 2013 in a $4.78 million government funding round that championed Our Healing Our Solutions. These projects are supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in their healing journey. The program showcases the critical role of traditional and cultural practices in healing in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context.
I’d like to highlight a couple of sections from the Executive Summary that you might like to reflect on:
‘Consistent with a growing body of Australian and international research, our own evidence from Our Healing Our Solutions is showing that cultural and traditional practices act as a pathway to healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. The review shows the following 10 emerging evidence themes for our healing:
- Identifying with our cultural lineage makes us proud and dignified
- Preserving and sharing cultural heritage gives us a sense of future
- Connecting with land, country and our history makes us strong
- Following our cultural ways makes us feel good and builds our spirits
- Strengthening our community gives us belonging and protection
- Acknowledging leadership allows us to mentor our future leaders
- Respecting self and others is an important cultural value that guides us
- Using our cultural skills in our work makes us feel valuable and rewards us
- Grieving space and healing time lets us take care of hurt
- Reconnecting with our spiritual selves is powerful and makes us feel whole…’
‘Healing studies from international Indigenous settings point healing work to several important reminders. These are: healing takes time, cultural approaches should be blended with other healing traditions, there is a central spiritual component to healing, programs are better delivered by people of the same cultural group, program staff need support because of the emotional strain in healing work, there is substantial diversity among people needing healing, and healing programs must first do no harm...’
The Healing Foundation continues to reflect on how better to target, program and support healing initiatives. The success of Our Healing Our Solutions reflects a great need for healing in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It also highlights a palpable capacity and desire to heal, along with the benefits of self-led, -owned and -enacted cultural and traditional healing practices. These practices are reconnecting people to their spiritual place in cultural identity, country, and community. In short, wellbeing.’
I’ll look at the thematic evidence for healing in more detail in later blogs.