‘Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia’ by Judy Atkinson

rsz_41sanqzdhyl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx385_sy500_cr00385500_sh20_ou02_Every now and again, I read a book related to the recovery field which helps create a small shift in the way I work. A few months ago, I read a book that has opened my eyes to a problem I knew existed… but had little idea about. A big shift in the way I work is occurring.

Transgenerational, or historical trauma, is the transmission of trauma across generations arising from colonisation and its associated violence and control, seen in Australian Aboriginals and other indigenous populations, e.g. North American Native Indians, Maoris of New Zealand. This historical trauma influences individuals, families and communities.

Expressions of historical trauma in Aboriginal people can be seen in: adults who feel inadequate in their day-to-day functioning: the poor physical and psychological health and much lower life expectancy; the escalation in addiction to alcohol and other substances which are used as a coping mechanism; the increase in domestic violence across generations; the self-harm, suicide and risk-taking that occurs when people can find no meaning to their existence and have no sense of purpose for their day-to-day activities.

Judy Atkinson’s book Trauma Trails: Recreating Song Lines has really helped my understand historical trauma and how it can be healed. It is a wonderful book, one that I wholeheartedly recommend to you.

I take the following from the back-cover of the book:

‘Providing a startling answer to the questions of how to solve the problems of generational trauma, Trauma Trails moves beyond the rhetoric of victimhood, and provides inspiration for anyone concerned about Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities today. Beginning with issues of colonial dispossession, Judy Atkinson also sensitively deals with trauma caused by abuse, alcoholism and drug dependency.

Then, through the use of a culturally appropriate research approach called Dadirri: listening to one another, Judy presents and analyses the stories of a number of Indigenous people. From her analysis of “these stories of pain, stories of healing”, she is able to point both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers in the direction of change and healing.’

You can also purchase this wonderful book from the publisher in Australia.

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