✯✯✯ Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship
I love Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship These frankenstein science quotes devices, Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship others, Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship to the unique blend of visual and auditory storytelling that culminates to what Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship Landa refers to as a Things Fall Apart Universal Justice Essay narrative instance". Answer: Many Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship, large and small, can make good essays. The consultations need to be conducted with Values, Ethics, And Nursing Practice peoples and communities, Indigenous elders, Stolen Generations members, Indigenous organisations and representative bodies. Do I write it Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail a 3rd grader? Juvenile Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship is the other Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship of contemporary separation from family and community. Shortly after the Rudd Government commenced its term, the Summit was held on April Although Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship is not the only country pursuing healing,  it does Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship to Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship the most advanced and thoughtful Personal Narrative: The Healing Relationship of healing at this point of time. Welcome to Owlcation.
Personal Narrative - Introduction
But this action is unfortunately the exception to the rule. Even the generalised redress schemes in Queensland and Western Australia stop short of acknowledging the specific harm done to the Stolen Generations. Further, there are unresolved legal questions as to whether recipients under the redress scheme are prevented from pursuing other litigation or compensation for forcible removal issues. The objective of achieving compensation still needs to be taken forward because it is so intrinsically linked to a holistic view of reparations and healing. The Australian Human Rights Commission continues to actively advocate for these measures.
Most recently the Australian Human Rights Commission made a submission and gave evidence in favour of monetary compensation at the Inquiry into the Stolen Generation Compensation Bill. It argued that:. The failure to adequately compensate Indigenous people who were removed from their families and communities remains a significant human rights issue in Australia . The Commission recommended that the Bill be passed. There are important reasons for advancing the issues of therapeutic and cultural community healing services separately from the issue of compensation. One compelling reason for advancing healing and compensation separately, is that broad sections of the Indigenous community desperately need access to healing services, not just Stolen Generations members.
Approaching the two issues separately will facilitate healing services being provided for a broader part of the community as soon as possible. However, it is also not ideal to have compensation without healing services. The experience of Canada will be discussed further in Part 4 but it is clear from the Canadian experience that compensation without healing opened up old wounds and often left recipients in situations where they were vulnerable to financial abuse. Indigenous peoples participating in the WA Redress Scheme have also reported being retraumatised as a result of going through the process for claiming compensation.
In such circumstances, it is crucial that compensation claimants have access to support services and healing programs to ensure that they are able to manage the process in a way that provides closure, not re-traumatisation. Definitions and theory around healing are an important foundation for understanding healing but real examples provide an extra dimension that show how healing actually works. This section will briefly profile a small selection of healing programs to illustrate what healing looks like in practice and some of the positive impacts in the lives of Indigenous individuals and communities.
A more extensive list of healing programs reported from our consultations can be found at Text Box 7. This is not the first time that I have profiled promising practices in healing. The Social Justice Report looked in depth at some promising healing programs related to family violence and child protection. The three pillars are:. These three categories are not always mutually exclusive but do help distinguish between healing approaches and other social and emotional and therapeutic models.
Reclaiming history involves learning about the impact of specific events in history such as forcible removals, and allowing individuals to understand their experiences and trauma in a broader social context. These approaches:. Understanding history can be both a catalyst for healing as well as pave the way for mourning what was lost- a recognized stage in the trauma recovery process. Examples of reclaiming history approaches are oral history projects that document the experience and history of the Stolen Generations and commemoration and memorial activities that mark the losses of the Stolen Generations.
Arguably the first step in reclaiming the history and healing for many Stolen Generations members was telling their stories to the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families and seeing these stories acknowledged and valued in the Bringing them home report. Text Box 3 outlines another Australian Human Rights Commission project that gives voice to the experiences of Stolen Generations members to reclaim history on the occasion of the ten year anniversary of the Bringing them home report. When it was launched I noted the important connection between story telling and healing:. The story-telling tradition of our peoples is one of the great strengths of our cultures. It contributes to our resilience as peoples as it has throughout millennia.
For the stolen generations, story telling is an indispensible part of both recognising the suffering of the past and its impact into the present; and of creating the basis for the journey of healing to begin. It contains the stories, poems, artwork and photos of the stolen generations and reflects on life in foster-care and homes, trauma and loss, discovering family and identity and healing, in a way that reclaims the history and reaffirms resilience.
Text Box 4 provides some examples of culturally based healing programs around Australia. Yorgum Healing Centre in Perth provides counselling and healing services to Aboriginal victims of family violence and sexual assault. The Grandmothers group has a dual purpose of allowing Elder women to share their knowledge and culture and keep active in the community, as well as providing nurturing to the younger generation. This group helps build community and intergenerational connection by keeping family and culture alive. Balunu cultural camps are run by the Balunu Foundation in Darwin. Young people are taken on country to remote cultural camps where they learn about traditional culture and law from Elders and program workers.
This knowledge is used to build self respect and respect for others. Anecdotally, some of the young people have achieved good results and made real improvements to their lives. A recent evaluation by the Menzies School of Medicine has shown improvement in the life quality of participants in the cultural camps. Tirkandi Inaburra is an Aboriginal community controlled early intervention centre in Coleambally, Central Southern NSW that provides a culturally based residential program for Indigenous boys between the ages of years. The aim is to reduce the likelihood of Indigenous young people becoming involved with the juvenile justice system.
It is a unique program as it combines cultural awareness activities along with education and support services to strengthen self-worth, resilience and cultural identity. Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural and Development Centre was a finalist in the Indigenous Governance Awards in recognition of their good work over the past two years. Therapeutic healing includes a combination of traditional and Western therapies to help individuals and communities recover from trauma.
The success of these approaches seems to be the melding of cultural interventions and therapeutic work to facilitate healing. Some examples of therapeutic healing are:. These approaches are commonly adapted to target a wide range of different groups needing healing including:. In sixteen men and boys were arrested on sexual assault charges, devastating the remote community of Kalumburu in the Kimberleys. To initiate healing, the community approached Professor Atkinson to work with them. The project has been funded by the Australian Government. Importantly, it is based on consultation and finding out how the community is coping and what they want to get out of the healing process. It is a slow process of building trust and creating a safe place for people to share stories of abuse and hopes for the future.
This safe place is a healing circle, embodying connection and inclusion of strong Indigenous community models. The healing circle utilises therapeutic individual and group tools that allow participants to tell their stories through:. To achieve longer term goals, community capacity development is intrinsic to healing. This involves building the confidence and strengths of individuals and community that can support the healing process when Professor Atkinson and her team have gone.
Red Dust Healing is a cultural healing program developed by Tom Powell and Randal Ross, experienced Indigenous workers, delivered through group sessions and individual case management and support systems. Red Dust Healing has been run for a wide range of participants, including young people in juvenile detention centres, groups including men and women, high school students and mens' groups. Red Dust Healing has also been adapted for delivery to doctors, police and legal practitioners to increase cultural awareness and explain healing. The cultural and therapeutic elements are strengthened by practical case management and support systems to place the gains made from healing in a socially sustainable context.
Each participant develops an individual case plan that will help continue the healing work. This can include referrals to relevant services and a buddy or mentor for informal support. In some locations, formal links have been made with employment opportunities. For instance, a partnership has been developed with North Queensland Water which has resulted in employment for some participants. To date, around participants have completed the program. Participant feedback has shown some powerful positive outcomes. The program shows participants how they can apply these skills in their own life and discuss issues like anger management, substance use and family violence. Gamarada coordinator Ken Zulumovski says funding and administrative support is crucial to the sustainability and expansion of the Gamarada program and others like it.
There are hundreds of men who are beginning to look to the Gamarada model for support and daily enquiries from community and government services are adding to the list. These men and their boys sometimes pass up mainstream services to opt for something cultural. Gamarada also creates a great opportunity to encourage and educate the men and inturn their families about the importance of regular health checks with their GP.
This is fundamental to closing the gap in Aboriginal health and stifling the cycles of poverty that lead to crime, prison and low socio economic status. Ken Zulmovski says:. The Gamarada team are doing the ground work and the Aboriginal and non Aboriginal communities of Redfern and Sydney acknowledge the results but we need significant support. The benefits to the community at large will be ten fold to any financial support received, the research is evident to this. Another crucial area in the development of healing programs in Australia has been the emergence of appropriate training to skill workers to conduct healing programs. This is still a fledgling area with a small number of Indigenous training modules that explain healing and culturally appropriate responses to trauma.
Gregory Phillips argues that:. Many biomedical mental health programs lack understanding of spirituality and how to deal with feelings in their training programs. Text Box 6 captures a few examples of training and education programs that are successfully achieving this. Murumali is a healing model to assist Indigenous and non Indigenous professionals who work with Stolen Generations members and their families. The Murumali healing model was developed by Lorraine Peters, a member of the Stolen Generations, in The healing model is holistic and culturally secure.
It provides workers with the tools to assist Stolen Generations members along their own path of healing. Different workshops are held for Indigenous and non Indigenous workers to ensure cultural safety and encourage discussion of sensitive issues. Additional workshops have been developed about risk management and suicide prevention and general awareness of Stolen Generations issues. Healing workshops have also been run for Stolen Generations and their families, notably Indigenous prisoners.
Despite the success of these workshops, the bulk of funding and demand is for training programs for workers. Over workshops have been run and 1, people trained since This takes place through experiential healing, where participants experience and actively participate in many of the healing processes to develop a broad set of skills and critical reflections that they can take out in their work.
There is an emphasis on engagement with Indigenous communities. Students are encouraged to undertake field placement to develop healing skills and give back to the community. Indigenous community members are actively encouraged to participate in the courses and there are pathways for Indigenous community members who may have had little formal education. Because the program is taught from an Indigenous framework and with a greater emphasis on experiential learning than traditional academic assessment, it has been successful in supporting Indigenous students who may have struggled give a previous lack of educational experience.
To date, 45 students have graduated from the Masters program and 37 are currently completing the program. Part of increasing the sustainability and reach of the Red Dust Healing program is the training component of the program. Participants are encouraged to become trainers so they can run the program in their own communities and provide mentor support to other participants. This training requires that individuals attend two blocks of program. The first assists the participants to deal with their own healing issues and familiarise themselves with the program. The second time they take a more active role in the program as mentors and co facilitators under the supervision of the program authors, Tom Powell and Randal Ross.
Participants are left with all the program content and materials and can access additional support from Tom Powell as required. This training is increasing the number of people who are able to access the program. For instance, an Aboriginal Liaison Officer from Lismore Police has since participated in the training and has now run the program in the local high school. Gamarada also provide a train the trainer component where they encourage participants to gain the skills to run sessions themselves in the community.
This means that some of the training and education is outside the mainstream paradigm because it focuses on individual healing. However, as we see in the Gnibi College Programs, Gamarada and Red Dust Healing, this becomes experiential learning that students then take back to their communities and use in their healing and therapeutic work. Training is also an important element of making these healing programs sustainable. Currently, there are very few people trained in the provision of Indigenous healing services, and this limits the number of locations where such services are available.
Increasing the number of people who are able to run these programs and understand the fundamentals of healing ensures that knowledge and skills are not tied up with individuals but become part of the broader community capacity. Healing is not the exclusive domain of health workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals. Instead, healing can be best achieved when we:. The development of these skills can lead to individual and broader community healing, and to the provision of a range of healing services and programs across all areas of Australia. Another common element in all of these practice examples is the centrality of cultural renewal.
This comes about in a two pronged way. Firstly, the programs create an environment of cultural safety. Cultural safety, like healing, is one of those terms that is liberally thrown around but often poorly understood. Cultural safety is:. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of learning together with dignity, and truly listening. It is more than accommodating cultural difference; it is about creating a space where culture is respected and valued. The second component of cultural renewal in these programs is actively celebrating culture and educating program participants in culture.
This recognises that many Indigenous peoples may have lost touch with aspects of traditional culture. Learning about traditions can be grounding and a source of pride. These programs foster identity and pride, dispelling the negative stereotypes that many hold about Indigenous peoples. By giving participants, especially young people, a different way of understanding where they come from, they are actively creating a new culture of pride and possibilities. To this end, it is important to have Indigenous healing programs that are delivered by Indigenous peoples. These examples also highlight the diversity and complexity of needs that healing can address. Healing by its very nature is holistic and can therefore assist individuals who have multiple and complex needs.
Many of the people who participate in healing programs have been in and out of a number of mainstream services. Text Box 7 below provides a list of healing programs and approaches. Although not comprehensive, it includes examples that have been reported in our consultations for this chapter, as well as other examples from my previous research. I have started to detail in this chapter the foundations for the healing work that needs to take place among Indigenous communities throughout Australia.
These foundations for healing need to build on the experiences of trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples, as well as the cultural and spiritual responses to trauma being generated by Indigenous peoples. Many Indigenous peoples, both individually and collectively, have already started the work of healing in their lives. What is needed now is a national Indigenous healing body, to ensure that the value of the healing work that remains to be done is understood and adequately resourced.
The question that people have been deliberating over with regards to this national body is what kind of body it should be, which I will go on to discuss in part five of this chapter. Australia is not the only country in the world with a history of dispossession and violence towards their indigenous population. But unfortunately, Australia lags behind other comparable countries in the journey to provide redress for historical and contemporary traumas. There is a great deal that Australia can learn from the progress of other countries further down the road of Indigenous healing.
Canada provides an interesting model of healing that points to lessons and strategies that can be applied in the Australian context. Although Canada is not the only country pursuing healing,  it does seem to be the most advanced and thoughtful model of healing at this point of time. Of course, it is not perfect but I believe the limitations of this model also provide crucial lessons for developing a better approach to healing in Australia. The developments in healing in Canada have emerged in response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
The Royal Commission covered a broad range of issues relating to Aboriginal peoples and their relationship with the Canadian government. Special urgency was given to addressing the impacts of abuse in residential schools. Like Australia, generations of Aboriginal children were taken away from their families. In Canada between the s and s, over government funded church run industrial schools, boarding schools and hostels operated for Aboriginal children. Many of these children suffered physical and sexual abuse, as well as the loss of family, community and cultural connection. It is estimated that there are approximately 86 survivors of the residential schools alive in Canada today and people are estimated to have been intergenerationally impacted.
There has been some debate about whether the Statement of Reconciliation constitutes a true apology given that it only apologises for the physical and sexual abuse suffered by children in the residential school system, rather than the entire policy of forcible removals. Much like the Australian situation, the status of the apology remained an open wound for many, until 11 June , when the Prime Minister of Canada gave an official national apology to former students of Indian residential schools for Canada's role in the Indian residential schools system.
This led to the development of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. The AHF was established as an independent, Aboriginal run corporation separate from government. Subsequent funding allocations have seen the AHF extended until Despite robust advocacy on the part of the founding board members, the government was determined that the healing should be limited to respond only to the legacy of physical and sexual abuse suffered in residential schools, echoing the sentiments of the Statement of Reconciliation.
As a concession, the government broadened the scope to include the intergenerational impacts of this physical and emotional abuse. The AHF developed robust representation and governance structures. The AHF is made up of board of directors of 17 Aboriginal peoples, many of whom are either survivors or family of former residential school students and also represent the main Aboriginal groups across Canada. It should be noted that the consultation period for the development of the AHF was very short.
Aboriginal groups were in a difficult position: either they came together quickly to form some sort of body, or they risked losing the promised funds forever. A large conference representing most of the Aboriginal groups in Canada was held in July This conference was the first real opportunity for the community at large to engage with the concept of a healing foundation and be involved in setting its direction. Text Box 7 reproduces the recommendations that the conference made to board members. These goals have largely been included in the mission statement and used as a point of reference for evaluation and strategic planning with the exception of the recommendation about the composition of the board being made up soley of survivors and one Elder.
The conference also provided an opportunity for the board to begin the process of building up trust with Aboriginal communities. Board members should be on their own healing journey: sober, drug free and walk their talk. Board members need to be role models. The Board should stay at the grass roots level and not place too much priority on administration. The Board communicate with survivors by a communication which is truthful, honest and open. Foundation bylaws should not conflict with existing treaties and research should be done with respect to any conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The AHF is accountable through its Funding Agreement with the Canadian government which requires full annual reporting and independent audits. To date, the AHF has managed large amounts of money in a transparent and accountable way and has become a model of good governance in Aboriginal organisations in Canada. The AHF has had an enormous task allocating and managing funding to healing programs across Canada, with 1, grants to date. There is a diversity of healing projects that have been funded but all have had to meet mandatory criteria requiring that they:. Following difficulties in the first funding cycle due to community organisations not meeting the funding proposal guidelines, Community Support Coordinators were employed.
The Community Support Coordinators were placed in the major regions and included native Inuktitut and French speakers to accommodate non English speakers. Although the research arm of the AHF is only small, with only three core employees and an additional three contract workers, the impact and output of their research has been significant. The AHF has undertaken innovative research on issues related to healing such as suicide, addictions, foetal alcohol syndrome, family violence, elder abuse and perpetrator programs.
The AHF research on healing is unique and utilised internationally to support healing initiatives with indigenous peoples. Evaluation has been built into all AHF processes and the activities have been extensively evaluated as part of the final report in These evaluations have drawn some powerful lessons about what healing is and how the healing process can be supported and improved. Evaluation of the AHF has led to research that has mapped what the healing journey has been for communities and individuals, what supports healing, how to engage communities that might not be ready for healing and what makes a good healer.
This evidence is invaluable because it builds theory on healing that is grounded in real life practice. The experience of the AHF has also demonstrated a good model of evaluation for healing programs. The AHF has been able to develop meaningful evaluation measures that reflect the impact of their work. Initially, there was an expectation that the research process would be able to evaluate whether healing was leading to improvements in key indicators around physical and sexual abuse, children in care, suicide and incarceration. This led to much more sensible measures of progress revolving around:.
The evaluation has also been influential in documenting the reach of the AHF programs. It is estimated that people had participated in healing projects up to The majority of participants reported feeling better about themselves through improved self esteem and the opportunity to work through trauma. The AHF has also looked at the community wide healing process. Based on the level of understanding and awareness of the legacy of the residential schools; number of participants in healing; and the level of capacity to deliver healing programs:.
The evaluation also captured the magnitude of the need. The message from evaluation was loud and clear, healing is a long term process and needs to be funded commensurate with the level of need. Given the time bound nature of the AHF, part of the funding criteria has been to demonstrate how the program would be sustained after the funding period draws to a close. Despite a similar history to Australia, Canada has a dramatically different experience in provision of compensation to residential school survivors.
In response to the Gathering Strength Action Plan the Canadian Government began exploring options for resolving the large number of compensation claims regarding abuse. The centrepiece of this framework was alterative dispute resolution ADR to achieve monetary compensation for survivors of the residential school system without the need for litigation. There were high hopes for ADR as a way to deal with a large number of claims in a speedy way.
In already 8 claims had been made against the Canadian government. Unfortunately ADR failed to deliver on its promise. In only 93 cases had been processed. At that rate, it would take years to process all the claims and the administrative costs would be four times greater than the actual cost of settlements. There was also dissatisfaction about some of the fairness of the process with large discrepancies in settlement outcomes depending on location and who was responsible for the school.
Concerns were also raised about how the Canadian government applied the relevant tort law in the claims. For instance, Dr Greg Hagen a legal expert who has worked extensively on settlement issues cited the example of Flora Merrick who:. In the Canadian government commenced negotiations with survivors of the residential system and churches to come to an agreement for all survivors, not just those who had suffered physical and sexual abuse. Nonetheless, the model is unique and has some interesting features. The TRC is a court- ordered body, with the court playing an ongoing role in the implementation and supervision of the TRC.
Other TRCs around the world South Africa is the most well known example, set up to deal with the atrocities of apartheid are government bodies. The Canadian TRC is voluntary and victim focused. Its primary goal is to give survivors of the residential school system an opportunity to share their stories. While other TRCs around the world are also victim focused, there is also an emphasis on engaging those who perpetrated violence and abuse.
In the Canadian model, those involved in the running of the residential school system are welcome to share their stories but it is not a specific focus. The larger focus seems to be on reconciliation and commemoration through raising public awareness and ensuring the legacy of the residential schools system is understood. The situation in Canada is by no means perfect and there are fundamental problems in grafting a Canadian model onto the Australian Indigenous landscape. However, I believe that there are some valuable lessons that can guide our own progression towards healing in Australia, particularly through a national Indigenous healing body. One of the first battles of the AHF was negotiating a sufficiently broad scope to address community wide healing needs.
The Canadian government originally only wanted the AHF to address the healing of residential school victims of physical and sexual abuse. Given what we know about the intergenerational effects of trauma, this has covered a broad range of individuals and issues. The focus on physical and sexual abuse omits other significant losses inherent in the residential school process, like loss of family relationships, language, culture, identity and self esteem. In developing an Australian model consideration should be given to looking at healing in its broadest terms, not just for Stolen Generations, but their families and communities.
Healing should not only address the forcible removal but trauma arising from other sources and the related issues like family violence, alcohol and other drug use and incarceration that flow from trauma. The AHF has a limited term. Although the initial period has been extended out until that is still a relatively small period of time given the magnitude of the healing needs.
Similarly, in Australia we need to undo over years of trauma. This will take a significant period of time and we need to be realistic about this or we will not meet the expectations, the therapeutic need and we will be setting healing processes up for failure. Part of the success of the AHF is its independence from government and its community control. This is an expression of self determination and empowerment, which in and of itself is a powerful step in the direction of healing and reconciliation. The AHF has been well managed, with good governance and accountability and is considered a model of excellence in Aboriginal controlled organisations in Canada.
Whether or not a healing body in Australia has a direct funding or service provision role is not clear, but regardless it should maintain its independence from government and be managed by Indigenous peoples. The Canadian government, in conjunction with the relevant churches have gone down the road of providing compensation through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This is a momentous agreement and provides a model of good negotiation but it also shows that healing and compensation need not be pursued together.
The Canadian Aboriginal organisations were pragmatic enough to know that the offer of funding for a healing fund was a once in a lifetime opportunity and would meet a deep need in their communities. The strategy of remaining separate from the protracted legal processes of compensation helped to secure this offer of funding for healing services. The AHF had a ridiculously short period of three months to set up the foundation. This did not leave enough time for proper community consultation and engagement.
Consequently, the AHF board had a difficult road to acceptance. They held a major conference with community members shortly after, but even then there were still misplaced community expectations about what the AHF could do. This points to the clear need to conduct extensive consultation and engagement in the Australian context. Again, not just consultation with Stolen Generations groups but a broad range of community stakeholders. Indigenous men are often painted as the problem by mainstream media when in fact many have shown a real commitment to individual and community healing. In Canada, the Assembly of First Nations AFN enjoyed twenty years experience, national leadership and credibility, and thus was an appropriate auspice agency for the creation of the AHF.
In Australia, since we currently have no credible national equivalent to the AFN, it will be even more necessary to ensure the independence, moral leadership, professionalism and credibility of the Board. Commentators in Australia have noted the importance of having a strong community-based and professional leadership at the helm, driven by Indigenous peoples with the relevant healing, professional therapeutic and management experience and skills. This will be more likely to ensure that the work of the foundation comprehensively addresses the different areas of need. Similar to the role played by the Assembly of the First Nations, Indigenous leadership in Australia would also be assisted by the creation of a National Indigenous Representative Body.
Similarly, in the Canadian experience the presence of a Treaty formed an important basis for negotiations with the government on the establishment of an independent Aboriginal controlled healing foundation. Respondents to our consultations in Australia have similarly reflected that there is a need for a treaty to provide a foundation for establishing a framework for healing and for ensuring government accountability for Indigenous issues.
Research and evaluation have been built into the AHF from the very outset, not as a hurried add-on towards the end of a funding cycle. This has led to accountability by assessing if funded programs are delivering outcomes. Research and evaluation create an evidence base that justifies and sustains programs. Providing evidence on the efficacy of healing programs increases its acceptance with government and other funders. The Australian Government has repeatedly spoken of the need for evidence based policy.
These sorts of authoritative evaluations are our way of responding to ensure that healing programs get funding in the first place and are sustained into the future. The research arm of the AHF has also led to significant new knowledge. Healing is an area of innovation, especially in Australia, so there is a lot of fresh research ground for a healing body in Australia. The research generated could have utility in evaluating programs; developing the theory on healing in the Australian context; and undertaking historical and commemorative work about past racist policies. AHF funded projects are usually run in conjunction with other organisations, and frequently provincial, territory and federal government agencies. This promotes joint work, prevents siloing of healing services and builds the sustainability of the programs in the long term.
This should be a guiding principle in any Australian healing body. There is good will and generosity in the corporate sector in Australia too. A healing body should strongly engage with these alternative sources of support. One of the best outcomes of the AHF has been the promotion of healing recognised as a legitimate approach to a wide range of problems. Mainstream organisations and government departments have adopted healing approaches in their programs based on the success of AHF healing programs and the evidence that supports them. A powerful example is the Stan Daniels Healing Centre, which is actually a federal correctional centre based on Aboriginal spirituality and healing models.
A healing body in Australia could have similar capacity to educate about healing and promote programs and approaches that are successful for integration into mainstream service delivery. The literature review, case studies of healing programs in Australia and a consideration of the Canadian healing experience provide a knowledge base for progressing healing in Australia. The next step in moving healing forward on the national policy agenda is consultation with the Indigenous community. As part of the research for this chapter I sought feedback from individuals and representative organisations with expertise and experience in Indigenous healing programs, policy and research and related areas on the development of a national Indigenous healing body in Australia.
This was not a community consultation nor was it comprehensive due to the limited resources available. I sought information from 43 individual and organisations and received 18 responses in writing as well as through phone calls, meetings and forums  as appropriate. The respondents included a number of Stolen Generations organisations, researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the field of Indigenous healing. While this consultation should in no way be considered complete, it still provides some valuable initial thoughts on what is important in healing and how we might move forward.
As a starting point I asked respondents:. The responses are consistent with the concepts of healing presented in Part 2 of this chapter and highlighted that any discussion of Indigenous healing needs to start with an understanding of what the concept of Indigenous healing is. Text Box 9 provides a selection of quotes from respondents on what healing means to them. At its heart healing is about restoring balance where wrong has been done, - a spiritual process that includes therapeutic change and cultural renewal. It is about protection and care for the victims of violence and abuse as well as the development of correctional services for perpetrators that are based on healing and change, not stigmatisation and shame.
Healing is an education process of awakening, learning about the self, having an ever-deepening self-knowledge and a returning to wholeness that leads to transformation, transcendence and integration. It happens through the experience of safety, community support, re-building a sense of family and community, using ceremony and strengthening cultural and spiritual identity. The main principle of healing is about being connected to country.
Healing is about working with indivudals, families and community. It is about changing unhealthy relationships with each other Healing is a holistic, intergenerational experience of coping and surviving past injustices. As noted in Part 2 of this chapter, healing is not always well understood. However, this is starting to change. For instance in Western Australian Indigenous communities, some practitioners noted that there has been a growing awareness of the concept of healing and a corresponding increased demand for healing programs and services.
Now people are saying we want more healing in WA. To address this knowledge gap, it was recommended by respondents that there needs to be widespread community consultations and awareness raising sessions with Indigenous communities about Indigenous healing. This would develop an understanding of what healing is, the manifestations of healing not taking place, and how needs for healing can be met. Respondents raised concerns that there is equally a lack of understanding among parliamentarians, government departments and service providers about healing, and what it means in the Indigenous context.
There needs to be training and education for government officials among others about the traumas that Indigenous peoples face and what Indigenous healing is. How can these removal policies have had such a large affect on individuals across Australia and how can this correspond to the social problems of Indigenous people today? There is the grief of parents, interruption of family and community structure where people have been taken and ties of children to their family and culture. It has an affect on lives and impacts on the family structure, on parenting skills and social behaviour.
The respondents supported a wide ranging definition of healing, so that the intergenerational effects of trauma are recognised and healing is not just limited to issues of forced removal. Nonetheless, respondents also noted the importance of healing for Stolen Generations members, as a distinct and important part of healing for Indigenous communities generally. Helen Moran and Sally Fitzgerald state:. For Indigenous people individual well-being is related to the well-being of the entire community. Thus the healing of the Stolen Generations impacts on the healing of the entire community. Judy Atkinson speaks of the historical layering of transgenerational and intergenerational traumas of which the Stolen Generations are a contemporary core, and to be truly holistic, the historical and compounded complex traumas shared by all Indigenous Australians must be addressed — as must the associated healing of non-Indigenous Australians as well.
The Stolen Generations are the corner stone for healing Indigenous Australia. The specific healing needs of the Stolen Generations are integral to, yet distinct from the healing needs of the wider Indigenous communities; with the healing for one tied inextricably to the other. The respondents expressed a diversity of views on how to define healing and what purposes it can fulfil, but there is a consensus about the need for healing in order to address the intergenerational impacts of colonisation and past policies. Further, healing is commonly conceptualised as part of the restorative and reparation process spoken of in the Bringing them home report. The need for Indigenous healing was seen by respondents as fundamental to enabling Indigenous communities to provide the firm foundations from which to develop and advance.
One respondent used the analogy that putting in place measures in Indigenous communities that have not accessed healing is like building a house on quicksand. Alternatively, putting in place measures with a community that has recaptured their cultural identity and healed is like building a house on firm earth. There are four critical needs in Indigenous healing that the respondents identified. Firstly, that there must be a wide range of healing options because healing is such an individual process.
Having a range of therapeutic, narrative therapy, cultural and spiritual approaches available enables the individual to choose the healing service or program that best suits them. The key factor here is having a choice among a diverse range of healing options, that are culturally informed and community based. As one respondent noted, healing is a process, and often people with trauma need to first build their self-esteem and confidence and their trust in the people involved in the process, before they commence the healing aspects of the process. These preparatory stages can often take a couple of years, during which time people can often be involved in a range of cultural renewal programs and other activities. This builds up to therapeutic and other healing activities when they are ready.
A wide range of healing programs means that options can also be responsive to provide healing for families, communities, for elderly, for youth, for men, for women, and for the nation. The range of healing programs suggested by the respondents reflects the variety of examples highlighted in Part 3 of this chapter. In summary, services could include:. Secondly, healing services and programs need to be complemented by health and other support services and infrastructure, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas. Where possible local people need to be trained and employed to provide these services.
Thirdly, respondents repeatedly noted that many Indigenous peoples organisations have been developing and delivering Indigenous healing programs, that are culturally appropriate and community based, for some years now. It is now time to resource these services properly and find ways to use existing knowledge and resources in other communities. Lastly, respondents stated the need for skilled Indigenous personnel and workers to actually provide healing services and provide training.
It is necessary to put in place programs that develop the capacities and skills of Indigenous peoples to provide a full range of healing services. In some instances this may mean providing interim training for people to become support workers, as waiting for people to obtain professional credentials can take too long. Once again, experience has shown that training someone from the local community who is regularly available and accessible to deliver the service is often more beneficial than flying in a professional on an occasional basis. What is needed is the development of a discrete workforce to work with individual Indigenous organisations and communities to develop their own local programs. There was widespread support among the respondents for a national Indigenous healing body to provide a national coordinated response, informed and controlled by Indigenous Australians.
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