"But she said what she had to do first, before she started to heal, was to let the past go. And in order for her to let it go she had to forgive… she had to forgive the people in the mission, the missionaries, the manager of the mission. She had to forgive the station owner and his sons and workers. And she also had to forgive herself."
The Power of Story
Stories and storytelling have always has been an important part of Aboriginal 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.
Healing Stories are of particular value, since they provide hope and show that healing is possible via a multitude of different pathways. They help people understand the nature of their problem and how it can be overcome. People in the early stages of healing identify with and trust the experiences of someone who is further along in their journey.
Insights into the lived experience of people who overcome addiction and mental health problems, and other forms of adversity, can help society improve the way it helps people.
For many people, telling their Story plays an important part in the healing process. Their Story helps other people, providing the storyteller with an important feeling of 'giving back', which is of therapeutic value in its own right.
Lewis Mehl-Madrona on Stories
In his interesting book, Healing the Mind Though the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry, Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona emphasises the importance of story:
Stories help us develop empathy. They allow us understand another person’s world from their perspective. Stories give us unique access to the inner lives and motivations of others. They contain so much more information than we can convey in the statement of facts.
Stories give cognitive and emotional significance to experience. “Stories are amusing, memorable, and absorbing; they are also instructive, informative and orienting… We construct and negotiate our social identity through the stories we tell other people (and through the stories that then get repeated about us). Stories assist us in developing a moral sense, as they give moral weight and existential significance to actions and events."
>> Read more
Revel - A Story of Art, Social Justice and Resilience: Revel Cooper survived the harsh conditions of a 1940s government native settlement, a murder trial, and years of incarceration to become a self-determined man who spoke for the rights of Aboriginal people. He played a large part in developing one of Australia's first Aboriginal art movements that still thrives today.
Napranum Dreambuilders: The magical Story of what happens when people achieve true community ownership and self-determination, as reflected by Annalise Jennings' work with the Indigenous community of Napranum in Australia.
Judy's Story: Judy Atkinson's book Trauma Trails has been a strong inspiration for this project. We highlight Judy's career, her research, development of the We Al-li healing programme, and hear the voices of Aboriginal people who are healing from historical trauma.
Describes the Wellbriety Movement, which is impacting positively on Native North Americans, and the underlying Four Laws of Change. Two film clips from Don Coyhis focus on the factors that underlie intergenerational trauma and the healing of this trauma. Excerpts of an interview of Don Coyhis.
Marion's Story: Marion Kickett talks about the adversity she has overcome and other experiences that have helped shaped her identity. She is proud to be Aboriginal, and is able to move between two worlds. Marion is Director for the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University in Perth.
Ruby's Story: Marion Kickett shares the harrowing story of Ruby and describes how her early life experiences impacted on her later life. By forgiving people involved in these terrible events, Ruby started a healing process which led to her realising a dream.
Ngangkari Traditional Healing: The Stories of two traditional healers from Central Australia, as told in The Australian, as well as film of traditional healer Frank Ansell talking at a TEDx Brisbane.