"We will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous people understand how the impact of colonisation and its associated multiple layers of violence and control exert such an impact today. This has not just occurred in Aboriginal people and Torres Straits Islanders in Australia, but in other indigenous populations in America, Canada, New Zealand and other countries."
Understanding historical trauma
Far too few people are aware of the trauma and associated unresolved grief that have been transmitted across generations of Indigenous people in ways that have influenced individuals, families and communities.
As a result, far too few Indigenous people are overcoming the consequences of historical trauma, e.g. addiction, mental health problems. Many Indigenous young people are angry and do not know why. Moreover, society continues to try to manage (put a band-aid on) the symptoms of historical trauma (e.g. mental health problems, addiction, violence, suicide), rather than address the core problem. Society must start to address the issue of historical trauma.
Sharing Culture will develop a multi-platform initiative to enhance awareness of historical trauma and its consequences in Indigenous people.
We will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous people understand how the impact of colonisation and its associated multiple layers of violence and control exert such an impact today. This has not just occurred in Aboriginal people and Torres Straits Islanders in Australia, but in other indigenous populations in America, Canada, New Zealand and other countries.
Just helping Indigenous people understand what underlies their problems will have a positive impact on Indigenous health. Without knowing the nature of their problem, how can someone begin to heal?
And how can someone helping Indigenous people improve their health and wellbeing do their job properly if they don’t really understand the nature of the problem? It is also essential that this latter group of people understand Australian history from an Indigenous perspective, rather than just from a non-Indigenous viewpoint.
One way that we will bring this project alive is by telling the Stories of Indigenous families across generations, showing how the consequences of historical trauma have increased across time and shaped the lives of many people.
Healing historical trauma
Healing must take place at an individual, family and community level.
Healing must occur “in a holistic way: the physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social and environmental. It includes healing oneself and relationships with others, such as family and community members. Healing is ongoing, continuing whilst facing many and different challenges in life." Professor Marion Kickett
The healing process is neither quick nor easy, but the knowledge to achieve success is available. We will emphasise to Indigenous people that they do have coping mechanisms, skills and knowledge, and as a people they’ve been healing themselves for years in their struggle to rise above historical trauma.
Indigenous people must learn to forgive and let go of their past and their negative emotions, in order to initiate a healing process. Connecting to their culture, land, spirituality and family facilitates healing. Sharing Culture will enhance pride amongst Indigenous people, pride in their culture and all that they and their nations have achieved.
A library of Healing Stories will be developed that show how people overcome adversity and gain a better life. We will provide key information about healing processes and different healing approaches, and highlight key healing initiatives around the country. We will also help connect healing initiatives around the country so that they can learn from, and support, each other.
We will stress that society must empower Indigenous people to take ownership of their health and wellbeing, and build culturally safe and respectful environments for healing to occur.
Our education will not just be focused on the individual, but also at a family, community and national level. How do families as a whole heal? And how can communities heal and rebuild?
Finally, it is not sufficient for governments and care systems to expect individuals to do all the hard work. They too have to change and we will provide an education and develop an associated advocacy movement that helps facilitate this process.
> Our Way Forward, Part 2