Breaking Trauma Trails: Facilitating the Healing of Indigenous People (Part 4)

3702998I recently wrote three blogs about my other initiative Sharing Culture – which is focused on the healing of Indigenous people – and what we are trying to do [Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3]. It is time to continue with another part, which will focus on our activities over the past 18 months.

Progress To Date
The first development was the Sharing Culture website, launched in late-2013. We set out with the aim of developing a small website focusing on historical trauma, healing and culture, primarily using the voices of Indigenous people (which is why you see so many quotes) within an organised framework. We wanted our audience to gain a basic understanding of key issues relating to Indigenous healing.

The information (written and film) I provided was obtained from web pages, books, science papers and personal communications. A considerable amount of research, reading and watching of films was involved in bringing this content together. In addition to this content, I included Stories, both of individuals (e.g. Professor Judy Atkinson) and initiatives (e.g. the Native American Wellbriety Movement).

In the About Us section, you can learn about Mike and I and read some testimonials, be introduced to members of our Sharing Culture network of Advisors/Healers, and find out a little more about our projects. Our collaborative project with Annalise Jennings and the Cape York Indigenous community of Napranum, Dreambuilding in Napranum, is described here.

In February 2014, I started my regular blog, in which I highlighted, and linked to, a wide variety of content focused on Indigenous healing and related topics. The website now contains over 200 blogs.

I’ve recently included some guest bloggers (e.g. Dave Walker, Annalise Jennings and Pip Gordon) and this initiative will expand. In fact, Annalise now has her own blogging space and Pip’s will follow shortly.

Some of the content from my blog has been incorporated into other aspects of the website.

The website has grown considerably over time, as has our sister website, Recovery Stories. The latter has been running since May 2013 – I blog on average five times a week – is committed to helping individuals, families and communities recover from addiction and mental health problems.

I have developed the Sharing Culture home page so that people can quickly see new content which has appeared during the day: David’s Blog, Today’s Film, Top Content, Guest Blog, Top News (from other media), Recovery Stories.

We developed a Sharing Culture page on Facebook in order to increase our audience. However, trying to gain a large audience early on was not a major priority.

Rather, we were concerned with linking up with key ‘connectors’, people who would enjoy spending time on our website and would help us grow our audience over time. Our priority was to develop a web-based ‘meeting place’, which contained high quality information focused on Indigenous healing. [Having said this, however our REACH on Facebook has recently increased from 1,800 to 37,000]

We also started to form an international network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Advisors/Healers, people who were experts in their respective field, and was thrilled by the positive response. Some of the comments we received from these experts were humbling.

The areas we were interested in were: Indigenous healing; Indigenous culture; addiction and mental health recovery; healing of trauma; suicide; environmental issues and land management; community development and resilience; health self-care, peer support and film-making/advocacy.

I am gradually profiling each of these Advisors/Healers on our website and showcasing their work. I am also discussing future collaborative projects with some members of the network. To date, we have mainly engaged people involved with health and wellbeing in this network, but we intend to expand the network into other areas (e.g. the arts).

Mike and I initiated two small film projects, which were supported by Curtin University here in Perth. The first, Marion’s Film Story, involved a day’s filming with Professor Marion Kickett in her country of York.

The second, Paintings From the Heart, involved a discussion between Marion Kickett and Karen Hume about an unknown Story of how three of the gifted Carrolup young artists – Revell Cooper, Parnell Dempster and Reynold Hart – gave gifts of their paintings to Ida Colbung for providing a place to stay during their visits to East Perth in the 1940s.

To date, all the work completed (other than the above film project) has been completed with no funding. In our efforts to raise sponsorship, we contacted government departments, and hundreds of companies and other organisations in Australia, but with no success.

This negative response contrasts starkly with the positive response we had from world leading experts. We are due to start a second phase of fundraising shortly. Fingers crossed.