Historical Trauma: Nature of the Problem

Unknown-4 With the launch of our new Sharing Culture initiative and website, here is a description of The Problem:

‘Colonisation and its associated violence and control still exert a marked negative impact today on Australian Aboriginal people. Trauma and an associated unresolved grief have been transmitted across generations in ways that have influenced 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.

“The psychological impact of the experiences of dispossession, denigration and degradation are beyond description. They strike at the very core of our sense of being and identity … throughout Aboriginal society in this country are seen what can only be described by anyone’s measure as dysfunctional families and communities, whose relationships with each other are very often marked by anger, depression and despair, dissension and divisiveness.

The effects are generational … I recognized all the things that had happened to me through my grandparents, and their parents; their brothers and sisters who I had known as a child; through my mother and her siblings; through my cousins and my siblings. I recognized the things that happened to the thousands of other Aboriginal families like our family, and I marvelled that we weren’t all stark, raving mad.” The Hon Pat O’Shane

For many, alcohol and other drugs have become the treatment of choice, because there is no treatment available. “If they hadn’t used alcohol they probably would have committed suicide.”  Judy Atkinson’

Please have a look around our website, which not only has sections on Historical Trauma, but also Healing, Stories, Culture, Our Projects and About Us. And please like us on Facebook.