“Indigenous people possess a gift. This is a gift of healing, strong relationships and a deep connection to land, from a culture that has flourished over many thousands of years.” David Clark and Michael Liu
Sharing Culture is a unique initiative to help Indigenous people heal from historical trauma and its consequences. These consequences include poor physical health, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide.
Sharing Culture is based on the core values of authenticity, connection, courage, creativity, empathy and forgiveness.
Our solution-focused, strengths-based approach empowers Indigenous people to heal by giving them hope (that healing is possible), understanding (of the nature of the problem and how it can be overcome) and a sense of belonging.
We aim to connect Indigenous people to safe and supportive environments, where they can start to address their problems, gain a positive identity, and learn how to improve their health and wellbeing.
We recognise that self-determination is the foundation of healing, and that relationships and community also play central roles.
Our unique initiative and approach are supported by an international network of thirty-five Indigenous and non-Indigenous Advisors/Healers, the vast majority of whom are world leaders in their area of expertise, e.g. Indigenous healing, trauma, addiction and mental health recovery, asset-based community development, filmmaking.
Education is key to healing. Sharing Culture is developing a multi-faceted education and advocacy resource on Indigenous healing, which is based on lived experience.
This resource will include an inspiring collection of written and filmed Healing Stories. Indigenous people who have healed from historical trauma and its consequences have shown great strengths and resilience, as well as the necessary coping mechanisms, skills and knowledge, to rise above adversity.
They are role models and their Stories empower others. They show that Indigenous people must connect to culture, land, spirituality, family, community and history to facilitate healing.
Our educational resource will also include Stories of successful Indigenous healing initiatives, to help communities learn from each other, as well as Cultural Stories that engender pride and facilitate cultural connectedness.
It will link our audience to the latest scientific research about healing and recovery.
We have completed the first stage of development of the Sharing Culture website, which focuses on using the voices of Indigenous people to educate people about the healing of historical trauma and its consequences.
In addition, Professor Clark has been blogging regularly (over 200 blogs) about key issues related to Indigenous healing for a year.
In a second phase of development, we are collaborating with highly respected people who have developed key Indigenous healing initiatives.
Our aim is to create high quality content about these initiatives that will be disseminated to a wide audience via a multi-platform approach, i.e. internet, documentary film, iBooks, newspapers, etc.
We aim to inspire and educate our audience, create advocacy campaigns, and help the people we collaborate with to develop their projects further (many receive minimal funding). We need to learn from, and facilitate the work of, people with successful healing initiatives.
The first collaborative project involves Annalise Jennings and the Cape York Indigenous community of Napranum, which demonstrates the importance of self-belief and self-determination, as well as a whole community approach, in facilitating healing.
Other projects being developed include those with Professor Judy Atkinson and Dr Carlie Atkinson, which focuses on the healing of historical trauma and their We Al-Li healing program, and with Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann and Pip Gordon, which focuses on the importance of belonging, connection and the Indigenous concept of Dadirri in healing. We aim that these projects later form a documentary series.
What we have achieved to date with Sharing Culture has been done with no funding. We are now looking for sponsors to help support us to take this exciting initiative to its next stage of development.
Our project will empower Indigenous people to heal at an individual, family and community level. However, it mustn’t just be Indigenous people who are involved in this healing process. We all have a role to play.
Sharing Culture is also targeting non-Indigenous people working in health, social care and criminal justice systems, young people in schools and higher education establishments, as well as government officials and politicians. We want to impact on wider society, so that we can help reduce the racism and prejudice that exists.
Sharing Culture highlights the multitude of ways that society can facilitate the healing of Indigenous people and spreads these healing messages in innovative ways. It will create a ripple effect of hope and healing amongst Indigenous people. Eventually, healing will become contagious.
Our Stories and educational content will be passed on to our audience’s children and grandchildren, ensuring that it facilitates Indigenous healing across generations. Trauma has crossed generations – healing can do the same.