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Finding a path to healing… Loss and Grief support in remote Aboriginal communities…. TRUDY HANSON OAM National Association for Loss & Grief (NSW) Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding a path to healing… Loss and Grief support in remote Aboriginal communities…. TRUDY HANSON OAM National Association for Loss & Grief (NSW) Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding a path to healing… Loss and Grief support in remote Aboriginal communities…. TRUDY HANSON OAM National Association for Loss & Grief (NSW) Inc. Australia

2 NALAG Logo

3 Where we are….. Bourke. Dubbo

4 Macquarie Dictionary definition of Bereavement …to deprive ruthlessly, especially of hope and joy, to make desolate through loss, to take away by violence…

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7 Original training group

8 Dot Martin a Ngemba woman and some of her family members

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11 Bourke Healing Days Flowers floating on Darling River at Bourke Community sharing following the ceremony

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13 Working creatively with Bourke community

14 Grief & loss are the predominant themes of this report tenacity and survival are also acknowledged

15 From Bringing them Home Report Grief and loss are the predominant themes in this report. Tenacity and survival are also acknowledged as most significant, the actions of the past resonate in the present and will continue to do so in the future.

16 RECOGNISED HISTORICAL LOSSES Culture Language Sickness (introduced by Europeans) Land Laws (traditional) Traditional medicines Ceremonies (particularly grieving ceremonies) Deaths by massacres

17 RECOGNISED CONTEMPORARY LOSSES Removal of Aboriginal children from their families THE STOLEN GENERATION The Assimilation Policy for Aboriginals

18 Assimilation You spend your whole life wondering where you will fit. Youre not white enough to be white and your skin is not black enough to be black either, and it really does come down to that.

19 Assimilation I remember all we children being herded up like a mob of cattle, and feeling the humiliation of being graded by the colour of our skins for the government records Confidential evidence 332 women removed in the 50s Bringing them home

20 Effects of Separation from Primary Carer (Assimilation Policy) Depression Inappropriate choice of partner Learning difficulties Parenting difficulties Antisocial activity Violence Suicide (Australian Association of Mental Health submission citing Bowlby 1988 supported by Dr Nick Kowanenko, director of Child and adolescent Psychiatry at Royal North Shore Hospital NSW evidence 740)

21 UNRECOGNISED EMOTIONAL LOSSES Loss of ones sense of identity Separation anxiety Loss of a sense of power Loss of trust Loss of Confidence Loss of Self-esteem

22 Why me ; why was I taken? Its like a hole in your heart that can never heal Confidential evidence 162 Bringing them home

23 Stolen Generation My feelings throughout life, of hurt, pain and neglect began as far back as I can remember…I was taken from my family… along with my biological brother

24 Actually what you see in a lot of us is the shell, and I believe as an Aboriginal person that everything is inside of me to heal me if I know how to use it, if I know how to maintain it, if I know how to bring it out and use it. But sometimes the past is just too hard to look at. Bringing them home confidential evidence 284

25 Stolen Generation Ive often thought, as old as I am, that it would have been lovely to have known a father and a mother, to know parents even for a little while, just to have had the opportunity of having a mother tuck you into bed and give you a good-night kiss-but it was never to be. Bringing them home confidential evidence 65 a child fostered at 2 months

26 NALAG Intervention Education Healing Days Camps Ritual Mentoring young people

27 GOOD GRIEF CAMPS for Young people Outdoor structured educational or therapeutic program Experiential in nature and featuring outdoor settings in the bush Ropes course Education about Loss & Grief Ritual

28 Camp Theme Symbol By Aboriginal Artist Lewis Burns Campfire Hands of the ancestors Men Children Women NALAG & Aboriginals Representing gathering, sharing and healing

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32 TEAM BUILDING

33 ROPES CHALLENGE, TEAM BUILDING.

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35 THEATRE SPORTS

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44 Typical Losses for Camp Participants Parents / Grandparents / Siblings Home Pets Moving Incarceration of parents and siblings Job opportunities Self Esteem Identity Accidental death

45 What the Young people liked about the Camps The crazy old people The fun activities especially the ropes course The food Learning about grief stuff Its OK to talk about stuff that hurts Other kids feel the same as I do

46 Typical Camp Rules No weapons No put downs No drugs Have lots of fun No fighting Its OK to cry No stealing Everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard Respect each other

47 Finding a path to healing

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50 Conference Paper AVAILABLE NALAG WEBSITE Conference Paper


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