Every year I hear Australians say “Why should I say sorry? I didn’t do anything!”, “If their culture is so good why did they adopt ours?” or “Why do they drink so much and waste their money?” “That was so long ago! Why can’t they move on and get over it?” So, intergenerational trauma does not work that way. You don’t just get over Genocide. ❤️ #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe
Or school kids calling you the [James] “Cook Killer!” because the History Teacher taught it. No parents to cry to. You were taken away. Or going to Church listening to migrant children allowed to speak Italian or Japanese, yet strictly banned from speaking your language.
Or being told you are an alcoholic and terrible with money when you made an absolute fortune from your Art or being a professional athlete but were forbidden from buying a house or a car with your pay. So that was some of then. What of now?
You don’t just get over that in 2021 there is still pages of longstanding human rights abuses against First Nations Australians from the top down such as our legislation, policies, programs, welfare, policing, prisons, access to services, cultural heritage, native title. You cannot get over something that is still happening.
This week I was the Psychologist at the 2021 Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health Conference. Institutional racism is still alive. It is still real. Due to historically intrenched factors First Nations Australians are the most imprisoned worldwide: making up 28% of people in custody yet merely 3% of the Australian population.
So did you know that most First Nations Australians in prison have experienced or witnessed trauma? Or 66.6% received a mental illness diagnosis? Research in NSW demonstrates Aboriginal people had almost twice rate of high/very high psychological distress than non-Aboriginal people.
The rate of suicide was double than non-Aboriginal Australians. The rate of hospitalisation for a mental disorder was also double. Today families’ call for justice, 30 years and 500 black deaths in custody since original the Royal Commission.
One of the most tragic parts of this crisis is that many years ago David Attenborough came to Far North Queensland to make a documentary about the Great Barrier Reef. David Attenborough spoke with local First Nations people about the region. Today scientific findings from James Cook University Cairns confirm thousands of year old stories, song lines, and dances about the workings of this beautiful region.
This only illustrates the strength of their culture and connection to country. Yet First Nations Australians were much more than silenced – and still experience ongoing human rights abuses to this day. I find it quite arrogant and/or naive when Australians say “Why should I say sorry? I didn’t do anything!”, “If their culture is so good why adopt ours?” or “Why do they drink so much and waste their money?” “That was so long ago! Why can’t they move on and get over it?”
Intergenerational trauma does not work that way. You don’t just get over something like that. Even more so when it is still happening to this day. I look forward to the day we end this harmful narrative and commit to the solutions that prevent injustice, intergenerational trauma and suicide. ❤️
Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong
Dr Louise Hansen Psychologist PhD in Psychology Human Rights Activist
#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong
Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo
You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:
This is a free educational website on Trauma Informed Care for survival and wellbeing.
While each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power. Let’s break the cycle of injustice and trauma together one day at a time.
The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Knowledge is power:
“Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. #YouBelong
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