"As Aboriginal people, we have always told stories about our lives, and we know how important it is for people to be connected to their own stories, the stories of their family, their people, their history. The stories are a source of pride. When people become disconnected from them, life can be much harder to live."
The Healing Ritual of Storytelling
Stories and storytelling have always has been an important part of Indigenous culture, being used in many communities to assist individuals learn the complexities of their culture. The telling of Stories is a powerful way to communicate knowledge about dealing with life issues in a positive and thoughtful way.
Storytelling is not just a strong cultural and educational tool, but also a healing ritual amongst Indigenous people.
In a culturally safe environment (e.g. healing circle), Indigenous people can share experiences by telling their Story (which is often a trauma Story), help each other come to terms with the emotional pain caused by what has happened to them in their past, and make sense of their personal story in relationship to the collective, communal Story.
During this process, Indigenous people can work through multiple levels of loss and grief. They are undertaking an exciting and painful journey of self-discovery.
Storytelling is a core element of the We Al-li healing programme developed by Professor Judy Atkinson and colleagues.
The Power of Stories
"When we come into mainstream health services, either as clients or workers, we find very different ways of talking about people's lives. We find a focus on aims and objectives, or on projects which involve easily measure outcomes. Often these ways of talking about people's lives do not fit comfortably for us (nor many other people)...
The telling of stories however is something we can relate to. As Aboriginal people, we have always told stories about our lives, and we know how important it is for people to be connected to their own stories, the stories of their family, their people, their history. The stories are a source of pride. When people become disconnected from them, life can be much harder to live." Barbara Wingard
Stories can take many forms. In the Story below, Ann Poelina talks about her relationship with her country and the work she is doing to protect the environment.
This is the story of Dr. Anne Poelina, a Yimardoowarra, Nyikina woman from the Lower Fitzroy River, in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. Anne has been using film as an advocacy tool in the fight against the massive push for the industrialisation of her country and the wider Kimberley region - ecocide. Listen to her inspiring words…
> Facilitating Healing, Part 3