‘In relation to Indigenous elders, their understanding of the primacy of human connectedness reflects the wisdom lost in our current world. How ironic that the cultures our modern world has marginalised are the very cultures with the wisdom to heal our modern woes.’ Bruce Perry

This section focuses on the transgenerational trauma that has been experienced by Indigenous peoples following colonisation by Europeans, and Indigenous healing practices for trauma and its consequences (e.g. addiction, mental health problems) which are superior to Western medically-based mental health practices.

22nd September 2023

My Trip to Nauiyu, Daly River, 2015

'Dadirri is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness… When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening…’
21st September 2023

Senior Australian of the Year 2021: Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann

‘Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann (AO) is an Aboriginal Elder from Nauiyu (Daly River), where she served for many years as the principal of the local Catholic primary school. She is a renowned artist, writer, activist and public speaker, a remarkable spirit-filled woman known for her reflections on Dadirri (inner deep listening and quiet...
20th September 2023

Aboriginal healing practices for loss and trauma: Bruce Perry

These Aboriginal healing practices are repetitive, rhythmic, relevant, relational, respectful, and rewarding; they are experiences known to be effective in altering neural systems involved in the stress response in both animals models and humans. The remarkable resonance of these practices with the neurobiology of trauma is not unexpected.
19th September 2023

Key Steps in Healing: Judy Atkinson

‘The study found that the most essential step in healing is to establish a culturally safe environment to do the deeper work, which enables people to change their lives. The next step is to find and explore, both individually and collectively, the stories that make people who they are...'
18th September 2023

‘Ruby’s Story’: Marion Kickett

It’s hard to believe that it is ten years since my good friend Michael Liu and I went out with Professor Marion Kickett to her home country in York to film her describing her life, country, culture, spirituality, family, education and resilience. Marion is a Noongar leader from the Balardong language group and is the former Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University in Perth. From our filming of Marion, Michael and I created 12 films...
17th September 2023

What Is Healing and How Does It Occur?: Judy Atkinson

'Healing as an experience of safety: ‘The healing of trauma requires the establishment of an environment of safety, without judgement or prejudice… Cultural safety is the identification a person makes with factors that are derived from the culture, belief systems or world views that allow them to feel safe while being with those to whom they have gone to help.’
16th September 2023

Reducing Suicide By Connecting To Culture

The destruction of Aboriginal culture by the colonisation process has played a key role in this youth suicide. Becoming disconnection from one’s culture can eradicate a person’s sense of self (or identity), their self-worth and their emotional wellbeing. They cannot function from...
15th September 2023

The Nature of Healing: Voices of We Al-li

'My medicine is listening to other people too. First time I as in a meeting like this, and I listened to others talking, I though they were talking about my life, their experiences were like my experiences. Their feelings were like my feelings. They were stealing my story—I wanted to know how did they know my story and what it felt like to be me.'
14th September 2023

The Healing Forest

'It means that we must actively heal the community and its institutions at the same time an individual works on his or her own healing from alcohol or drugs or other unwell behaviours. The individual affects the community and the community affects the individual. They are inseparable from the point of view of addiction recovery.'
13th September 2023

The Healing Power of Country

I began to realise the healing power of Country, something that I’ve known about, but not experienced in this way. My experiences made me reflect on how Aboriginal people are connected to their Country and how they treat it with the utmost respect. They know that this connection is central to their wellbeing and facilitates...
12th September 2023

‘We Shall Remain’: The StyleHorse Collective

'WE SHALL REMAIN was created to address the effects of historical trauma in our tribal communities. Many times, these untended wounds are at the core of much of the self-inflicted pain experienced in Native America. Much like fire, this pain can either be devastatingly destructive or wisely harnessed harnessed to become fuel that...'
11th September 2023

The Value of Deep Listening – The Aboriginal Gift to the Nation: Judy Atkinson

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. She lives in Goolmangar, New South Wales. Judy is Founder of the remarkable healing initiative, We Al-li. Judy’s book 'Trauma Trails Recreating Songlines quite simply changed my life.
10th September 2023

The Impact of Colonisation

The impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples has been similar in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, America and New Zealand. In her book Trauma Trails: Recreating Songlines, Professor Judy Atkinson describes how the control of Indigenous peoples by the coloniser was facilitated by three main types of power abuse or violence—overt physical violence, covert structural violence, and psychosocial domination.
9th September 2023

Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational, sometimes called intergenerational or historical, trauma amongst Indigenous peoples is the trauma that has arisen as a result of the historical experiences of colonisation (and associated violence and control), forcible removal of children, and loss of culture. As it was not addressed at the time, this trauma (and associated grief) have been passed down unwittingly through the generations by peoples’ behaviours and...
8th September 2023

12 Principles of Indigenous Healing

Many Indigenous people have healed from trauma and its consequences, showing the necessary coping mechanisms, skills and knowledge, to rise above adversity. Their personal narratives are of considerable value, since they inspire other people and help them understand how they too can overcome their problems.