The Healing Foundation encourages all Australians to join in the NAIDOC Week celebrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and achievements and embrace the true history of Australia.
The NAIDOC Week 2020 theme is Always Was, Always Will Be, which is a recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the custodians and caretakers of this land and have been for more than 60,000 years.
The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen said that NAIDOC Week this year celebrates the knowledge and ancestral wisdom of First Nations Australians and the importance of being connected to it.
“While we marvel at the resilience and survival of our cultures, we have to continue to acknowledge unaddressed trauma and the role it plays in our present and immediate future,” Ms Petersen said.
“In our journey, we continue to listen and learn from those who have gone before us, often too soon, and survivors of trauma. This drives our efforts to support intergenerational healing for all generations to come.
“NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to share the truth about the ongoing trauma experienced by Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants – and shine a light on the importance of healing.”
For Stolen Generations survivors, being removed from family, community and Country had a profound impact on their connection to identity, language and culture. This has resulted in a huge amount of grief and trauma.
Ms Petersen said healing is a proven way to overcome trauma and intergenerational trauma and restore wellbeing, which can bring about long-term change for families and communities.
“By healing trauma, we are tackling the source of social and health problems that are far more prevalent for our people,” Ms Petersen said.
“When trauma is addressed in cultural way, our people are better able to live their lives from a place of strength rather than from a place of distress.
“We need all Australians to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in particular Stolen Generations survivors, their families and communities, and to listen and understand our stories of strength and resilience.”
Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants suffer chronic health issues, disability, and alarming levels of economic and social disadvantage.
“Successful healing involves reconnecting with culture and identity, restoring safe and enduring relationships, and understanding the impact of trauma to find healing pathways,” Ms Petersen said.
“We know that communities heal through culture, and when we’re reconnected with those elements of culture that keep us safe and well, we have a better chance of healing.
“The benefits of healing flow to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and, ultimately, to all who call Australia home. Strong Spirit, Strong Culture and Strong People will mean a Strong Nation.”
Ms Petersen said that important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led movements like the Uluru Statement from the Heart and Closing the Gap were all part of the healing process.
To help highlight the importance of healing in NAIDOC Week, The Healing Foundation released the song, ‘Heal Together’, by Christine Anu, Philly, Mindy Kwanten, and Radical Son. You can view the song’s film clip here:
To raise awareness about intergenerational trauma, The Healing Foundation produced this animation:
The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to heal trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures and languages over 230 years. This includes specific actions like the forced removal of children from their families.