Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses contemporary experiences of trauma in Indigenous communities, the impact this has on Indigenous young people and pathways to healing identified by young people for young people.
Paper long abstract:
Co-Author: Joe Hedger
Indigenous people continue to suffer from inter-generational trauma caused by the effects and ongoing impacts of colonisation and the stolen generations. This paper discusses contemporary experiences of trauma in Indigenous communities, the impacts this has on Indigenous youth and strengths-based pathways to healing identified by young people for young people.
The declaration of Indigenous people as 'non-human' or 'less worth' than colonisers led to lost connections and experiences of abuse facilitated through stolen land, culture and children. Less than a century ago, between 1910 and 1970, one in three Indigenous children has been forcibly removed (Healing Foundation 2018). This means that most Indigenous people today are impacted by trauma through what Atkinson, Nelson and Atkinson (2010, p. 138) describe as "the subjective experiencing and remembering of events in the mind of an individual or the life of a community, passed from adults to children". This is particularly problematic in the context of Indigenous young people who grow up experiencing inter-generational trauma without understanding what this means and where this comes from. This can have tremendous impact on their identity, development, health and wellbeing. Indeed, Indigenous youth are experiencing one of the highest rates of self-harm and suicide in the world (Culture is Life 2018) with Indigenous young people aged 15-19 being 5.9 times more likely to commit suicide compared to non-Indigenous Australians (ABS 2018).
It is important to support the healing of Indigenous young people today, therefore this paper discusses the development of strengths-based strategies to support such approaches.
Trauma subjectivities - the experience and imaginaries of suffering in the 21st century