Ruby’s Healing Story

“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.”

Professor Marion Kickett shares the harrowing story of Ruby and describes how her early life experiences impacted on her later life, including the development of a drinking problem. By forgiving people involved in these terrible events, Ruby started a healing (or recovery) process which led to her realising a dream.

Marion is the new Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University in Perth and co-founder (with David Clark and Mike Liu) of Sharing Culture, a new initiative to tackle historical trauma and its consequences in Aboriginal peoples. 

Sharing Culture: Transcending Historical Trauma

Sharing Culture is a new initiative I am developing with Dr. Marion Kickett, a Noongar Aboriginal leader and Associate Professor at Curtin University, and Perth filmmaker Michael Liu

Sharing Culture is a unique initiative to empower Aboriginal people to heal and develop resilience to historical trauma and its consequences. These consequences include poor physical health, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, abuse and suicide.  

Sharing Culture is based on the core values of authenticity, connection, courage, creativity, empathy and forgiveness.

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Marion’s Story: Introduction

Dr. Marion Kickett tells her Story, to help the reader understand her background and why she undertook her PhD research on resilience.

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Marion’s Story: My Country

Marion talks about York and the surrounding area where she was brought up and her family have been living for generations.

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Marion’s Story: My Family, Father’s Side

Marion learnt a great deal about her culture, land and spirituality from her father and his side of the family. They had lived in York and surrounds for generations.

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Marion’s Story: My Family, Mother’s Side

Marion’s mother was well-educated and had lived with wealthy white families. She taught her the ‘white’ way of doing things.

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Marion’s Story: My Identity

Marion has a strong identity which has helped shape her into who she is today.

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Marion’s Story: ‘My Spirituality’

Marion’s spirituality is very important to her and is central to everything else that matters in her life.

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Marion’s Story: My Culture

Marion believes her culture is changing and she has learned to adapt when changes occur.

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Marion’s Story: My Resilience

A number of factors have contributed to the development of Marion’s resilience and her ability to live successfully in two cultures.

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Marion’s Story: Conclusion

Marion’s family have faced adversities, risen above them, and taught Marion to be the resilient person she is today.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Inner Strength

A number of study participants spoke about their inner strength, or strong spirit, helping them overcome adversity.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Enduring

Aboriginal people have endured, tolerated or suffered past government policies and racism in society.   

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Thriving

Many of Marion’s study participants were thriving, living a successful life and doing far more than just surviving.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Learning

Many study participants expressed that learning about their culture was an important part of survival as an Aboriginal person in today’s Aboriginal society.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Humour

Humour for most participants was an important coping mechanism used to deal with the many adversities they had to face on a daily basis.  It was also used to help deal with stressful and painful traumatic events suffered by some participants.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Letting Go, Forgiveness and Healing

Every participant spoke of the healing process and how before such a process can begin, they had to let go of negative emotions such as anger and hatred.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Role Models

Role models were important to many participants and played a major role in many individuals being able to face and overcome the many adversities they had to face during their lives.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Health

Although health was not a major concern for most participants, some saw health as an important factor underlying resilience.

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Education

Many participants spoke of education as power and how having an education certainly empowered them as individuals.

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