Youth Suicide & Self-harm: Indigenous Voices, Part 2

“Culture has become life-giving medicine for our people, closing the wounds of the past and standing us strong to face the future.

Our Elders have been fundamental in this process. They are our wisdom keepers. They have seen the changes, so dramatically incurred in their lifetime. They are the vital bridge between the modern world and Aboriginal culture. They are the leaders of our communities, to whom we continue to rely on for guidance and counseling.

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Youth Suicide & Self-harm: Indigenous Voices, Part 1

This ‘Culture is Life’ Campaign video highlights the problem of youth suicide amongst Indigenous people of Australia. Youth suicide is a problem amongst Indigenous peoples of other colonised nations.

Below, are some quotes from The Elders Report into Preventing Self-harm & Youth Suicide. This is a seminal report that brings together the voices of Elders and community leaders from across affected communities that wished to speak publicly about the causes and solutions needed to address this issue. These quotes reflect what the Elders see happening on the ground:

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The Stolen Generations

When I came to live in Australia in December 2008, I knew little about the past government policy of removing Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. This policy was introduced by Federal and State government acts in order to assimilate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children into the white-dominated society of Australia. In essence, to help ‘make’ these children ’white’. Children taken from their families as a result of this policy are now known as the ‘Stolen Generations’.

I felt embarrassed that I did not know more about the Stolen Generations. However, I was soon to realise that I was just one of a vast majority of people outside Australia who knew nothing about Australia’s policy of removing Aboriginal children (in particular children of mixed race) from their families. In fact, I know few people outside of Australia who have heard of this policy. It is one of Australia’s best kept ‘secrets’.

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The ‘Bringing them home’ documentary

The documentary Bringing them home: separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, found on the Australian Human Rights Commission YouTube channel, ‘was produced in 1997 and forms part of the Bringing them home education resource for use in Australian classrooms.

This resource is based on ‘Bringing them home’, the report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, and on the history of forcible separation and other policies which have impacted on the lives of Indigenous Australians.’

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The Stolen Generations

When I came to live in Australia in December 2008, I knew little about the past government policy of removing Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. This policy was introduced by Federal and State government acts in order to assimilate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children into the white-dominated society of Australia. In essence, to help ‘make’ these children ’white’. Children taken from their families as a result of this policy are now known as the ‘Stolen Generations’.  

I felt embarrassed that I did not know more about the Stolen Generations, particularly as I am a person who is very well read. However, I was soon to realise that I was just one of a vast majority of people outside Australia who knew nothing about Australia’s policy of removing Aboriginal children (in particular children of mixed race) from their families. In fact, I know few people outside of Australia who have heard of this policy. It is one of Australia’s best kept ‘secrets’.

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The Impact of Colonisation

The impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples has been similar in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, America and New Zealand. In her book Trauma Trails: Recreating Songlines, Professor Judy Atkinson describes how the control of Indigenous peoples by the coloniser was facilitated by three main types of power abuse or violence—overt physical violence, covert structural violence, and psychosocial domination.

Overt physical violence: In Australia, the arrival of the British boats at Sydney Cove in 1788 set in motion a series of disasters that propagated trauma upon trauma upon trauma. These disasters impacted upon Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people who had lived on the continent for somewhere between 50 – 70,000 years.

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Sydney Recovery Walk… and Not Anonymous Anymore

10626563_617927224991384_6034877507074662303_nIt’s great to know that the first Sydney Recovery Walk will take place this Sunday at 11.30 from Circular Quay. I’m thrilled, particularly given all the hard work of a special lady, walk organiser Jessica Khachan Moujalli, and the Rev Bill Crews.

I’ve been communicating with Jessica for nearly a year now and it is really an honour to know her. She’s so humble about her achievements in finding recovery from great adversity, setting up the Sydney Recovery group and Facebook page, and looking after her family.

Sadly, I cannot be there in Sydney, but I’m planning to link up with Jessica by Facetime whilst she is on the Recovery Walk and I walk here in Perth. I will be there in Spirit!

Meanwhile, here’s a one hour radio programme from the ABC about recovery which involves Jess, Bill Crews and Ross Fitzgerald.

PLEASE attend the Walk, celebrate Recovery, and make some special new friends. My very best to you all.

 

‘Recovery resistance’ by djmac

Recovery resistance is futile because if we resist recovery we are resisting the clients or patients services are set up to help. As Professor Best makes clear in the quote above, the themes of recovery are connection, hope, meaningful lives and empowerment. Those resisting recovery are resisting these values and such resistance is futile. Better to go with it and deliver on recovery than stand against it.’

Boxing-glove-300x224Great blog from djmac about recovery in UK. Sadly, we are are a long way behind here in Australia. There is such a strong resistance to recovery and recovery-based care here. Why can’t people in need of help in Australia have ‘a meaningful and valued life’, which is what recovery is all about? Anyway, here is djmac’s blog.

‘When recovery became the bedrock of drugs policy in the UK there were objections. Some commentators were vociferous and condemnatory. Their words were reported prominently in the addictions press provoking a response from academics and clinicians working in the field.

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‘The Anonymous People in Australia’ by ManyFaces1Voice

unnamedReceived this exciting piece of news from ManyFaces1Voice this morning. Good to have some Australian recovery news. Well done Simon Bowen. Now hearing recovery rumblings in Sydney. Excellent! [NB. I have changed the order of one paragraph to make communication a little clearer]

‘A few weeks ago, we featured recovery advocates Dougie Dudgeon and Annemarie Ward raving about the reception and impact of The Anonymous People in their respective countries of South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Today we hear from Simon Bowen of Visible Recovery in Adelaide, Australia.

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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.

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Indigenous Hip Hop Projects: Rockhole

I’m a boring old codger and have never been a great fan of hip hop. But I absolutely love this film clip, the song and the amazing project. This had me skipping around the house and I’m now a Hip Hop fan.

Please share this with all your friends. And ask them to do the same. It deserves to go viral and it would do great things for the Indigenous Hip Hop Project project and, ultimately, Aboriginal people!

Indigenous Hip Hop Projects was proud to partner with  Wurli – Wurlinjang Health Service and Rockhole community to make this deadly health promotional music video.’

Fantastic stuff! Keep up the great work, IHHP. And well done Rockhole community. You are stars!!

On Healing: Mary

rsz_jimn_jim_falls‘You know, I don’t think most Murri people have idea about healing. A lot of people I know think healing is just going to the doctor and getting fixed up – getting some pills or something like that. Faith healers – religion – stuff like that.

Saddest thing is they don’t even realise that they’ve got all the coping mechanisms, and they’ve been healing themselves all these years. If it was pointed out to them, things would really start to happen. They would build on it, because they know things are wrong, but they just don’t know what to do about it.

What I’ve learnt is, healing is facing up to the fact that you’ve got choices, and there is no need to live your life in this pain. You can always get out of it.

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Promoting community led solutions to indigenous youth suicide

I have just received the email below. Last week, I attended an aboriginal healing retreat and had spiritual experiences that confirmed my commitment to helping the Indigenous people of Australia tackle addiction and mental health problems and other consequences of historical trauma.

This email reminds me of the scale of the problem. The video touched my inner soul. I am so happy I have made this commitment. I know the journey ahead is a long one.

Please support this cause, first by sending this blog and the website link out to as many people as possible. Thank you.

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An educaring approach to healing generational trauma in Aboriginal Australia

Shouting recovery from the rooftopsI was away this weekend in the country at an aboriginal healing retreat, which was an amazing experience. I felt peace in a way that I have not experienced in a very long time. I will blog about this later in the week.

Prior to going on the retreat, I started to look for content on historical trauma, something that I have been thinking more about recently. I have become increasingly aware of the inter-generational trauma which has been experienced by Aboriginal Australian peoples (and indigenous populations of other countries)  and which has resulted in social dysfunction, violence, addiction and mental health problems.

It seems to me that far too few people in Australia are aware of the role of inter-generational trauma in producing the above problems.

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