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‘We’re also healers’: Elders leading the way in Aboriginal community healing


Cox, T and Mond, J and Hoang, H, We're also healers': Elders leading the way in Aboriginal community healing, Australian Journal of Primary Health ISSN 1448-7527 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1071/PY21289


Background: The impact of colonisation, dispossession and marginalisation on the health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples (hereafter respectfully referred to as Aboriginal people) is well documented. Aboriginal people continue to practice traditional healing, and in recent years have initiated numerous community-based healing programs around Australia. The Closing the Gap policy has also resulted in numerous community health programs. Despite these program and policy responses, Aboriginal people continue to experience persistent health disparities. The role of Aboriginal Elders in shaping Aboriginal health has yet to be a focus of research attention. This paper reports on a study that examined the contributions of Elders to the healing of Aboriginal people in a remote Tasmanian community.

Methods: Our co-designed participatory action research methodology was undertaken with eight community Elders.

Results: Analysis of qualitative data derived through interviews and yarning circle discussions revealed an emerging theme of community healing; with Elders undertaking a suite of therapeutic practices, and promoting cultural values to strengthen Aboriginal identity, community cohesion and connections to Country. The Elders identified healing as an essential process in response to intergenerational trauma, racism and marginalisation.

Conclusions: The findings inform policy stakeholders to consider the wisdom and voice of Elders in addressing Aboriginal community healing.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aboriginal Elders, aboriginal health disparities, closing the gap, community healing, connection to country, cultural values, health policy, participatory action research
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services
Objective Division:Indigenous
Objective Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services
Objective Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community service programs
UTAS Author:Cox, T (Mr Terry Cox)
UTAS Author:Mond, J (Dr Jon Mond)
UTAS Author:Hoang, H (Dr Ha Hoang)
ID Code:150297
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2022-06-07
Last Modified:2022-06-07

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