"Our identity as human beings remains tied to our land, to our cultural practices, our systems of authority and social control, our intellectual traditions, our concepts of spirituality and to our systems of resource ownership and exchange. Destroy this relationship and you damage - sometimes irrevocably - individual human beings and their health." Pat Anderson
Losing and Regaining Culture
Culture is a living process. When there is a strong cultural continuity, people become imbued with a sense of identity, well-being and life purpose.
Colonisation and the resulting cultural and spiritual genocide have disconnected many Aboriginal people from their culture. They are unable to function from either their own cultural relatedness, or from the culture of the colonisers. They live in a cultural void.
Cultural genocide attacks the very heart of who we are as a person. It has left many Aboriginal people living with multiple levels of trauma, the consequences of which are physical and mental health problems.
For Aboriginal people, healing from trauma is greatly facilitated when they are re-connected to their culture, spirituality and identity. Society must help Aboriginal people build culturally safe and respectful environments where the process of self-healing can take place.
Non-Aboriginal people working in health, social and criminal justice services must understand past history (and its impact) from an Aboriginal perspective. They must also understand the cultural and spiritual elements of health and well-being.
Content Relating to Culture
Connecting to Culture Facilitates Healing
Dr Joe Solanto talks about the contagious nature of healing and cultural connectedness. Lower suicide rates occur in indigenous communities that are well connected culturally.
Melanie Hogan's film Kanyini is a story told by Aboriginal leader Bob Randall. It is a tale of Indigenous wisdom clashing against materialist notions of progress. This page introduces the four dimensions of Aboriginal spiritual life (Kanyini), includes a personal statement by Melania Hogan, and links to a Study Guide for Kanyini.
Land and Country
Film clip of Bob Randall explaining how the connectedness of every living thing to every other living thing is not just an idea, but a way of living. The page includes statements relating to My Country, and reflections on Being at One by Australian anthropologist WEH Stanner.
Land and Healing
A Global Oneness Project film of Bob Randall talking about the importance of Land and introducing the idea of 'Oursness'. The page includes short sections on Land & Wellbeing and Caring & Reconnecting, and a link to a document focusing on the importance of Land for indigenous health and wellbeing.
Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP)
Three films from IHHP, a unique team of talented artists in all elements of hip hop, media, entertainment and performing arts, who work extensively in Indigenous communities around Australia. Great fun and educational!