The Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Canada has provided a good deal of key information about Aboriginal healing, including around the healing of historical trauma. We have also learnt a great deal from Native Americans and the Wellbriety Movement.
In Australia, the seminal book by Professor Judy Atkinson, Trauma Trails: Recreating Song Lines, has provided considerable insights into the healing of historical trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders. This information provides the basis for the development of an educational resource on healing.
Here’s what we know about healing and promising healing practices (mostly adapted from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Canada):
Promising healing practices are based on an Aboriginal worldview and on the values and philosophy of the community. They are holistic in nature and they strive to help participants restore balance and harmony to their lives.
Connections to the natural environment and to other people, especially families, are encouraged and respected. Programs are designed to address the whole person and to meet their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
Promising healing practices build personal and cultural safety into programs and services. Cultural safety is created by providing environments that reflect the unique culture and traditions of the community. Such environments affirm Aboriginal identity and foster feelings of belonging.
Promising healing practices include an educational component that provides information about the nature of historical trauma and the history of Aboriginal people and communities.
In addition to providing an historical context for understanding personal issues, this encourages the development of cultural pride. Aboriginal people must not become victims of their past; rather, they must learn to forgive and let go of the past.
Promising healing practices include a wide variety of cultural interventions and activities, which are often combined with Western and alternative therapies. Most importantly, these interventions and therapies are chosen to support a holistic approach to healing, thereby ensuring that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of participants are addressed in the healing process.