Despite years of assimilationist policy, and the loss of so many of our customs and languages, Aboriginal people have demonstrated extraordinary cultural resilience. Djalinda Ulamari runs healing centers in Yirrkala, NT, and speaks about the time is takes to heal the wounds for the ones we have lost.
The shocking rate of Indigenous suicide has not received the public attention it derserves. It is time to transform the issue into a national priority and maintain momentum until public pressure achieves the changes needed.
Put an end to Indigenous suicide and self-harm by addressing the root causes of the problem. The Marika family of East Arnhem land speaks about the need to create a better life for First Nation people, restoring harmony and balance across Indigenous Australia.
We have seen a problem that was close to non-existent a generation ago explode into an epidemic that is devastating families and communities right across the top end of Australia. Some of these communities have become places with some of the highest rates of youth suicide and self harm in the world. Banduk Marika speaks about the history of self-harm
Getting our Indigenous youth on-country is important for people because they get to learn about their own land and how to look after it. They learn not take from it and abuse it. Ruby Alderton from Yirrkala, NT speaks about educating our youth in their own language and culture to prevent self-harm and suicide.
Mangatjay Yunupingu is a traditional elder, and former member of Yothu Yindi, and speaks about the need for healing centres for everyone, and everyone would be able to benefit from it. Yolngu are the best people for the healing process. We speak our language and know our culture. Our young people need this to feel safe. Professional assistance from the Balanda (white people) doctors is important, but working together teaching us skills, so we can do the healing ourselves would be of the most benefit. It would save young lives.
The Yolgnu has his own knowledge and understanding for healing our Yolgnu. It has always been there with the people. This self-harm thing didn’t exist before colonisation. So now both parties should learn from one another
Our Elders are our wisdom keepers. They have seen the changes, so dramatically incurred in their lifetime. They are the vital bridge between the modern world and Aboriginal culture. They are the leaders of our communities, to whom we continue to rely on for guidance and counseling. Harry Nelson from Yuendumu NT speaks about the responsibility of the Government to recognise the power and wisdom of the Elders, and how doing so helps to support the healing of our young people and our communities.
Indigenous community leader Dean Gooda laments the loss of culture as youth suicides rise, and says the healing happens with the connection to culture and with young people getting out on country, learning the language, the song and the ceremonies from the elders. Aboriginal culture begins and ends on the land and with the sea.
The last 20 years has seen a massive and unprecendented increase in indigenous youth self-harm and suicide. During this period, youth suicide in Australian communities went from being extremely rare to one where the rate of indigenous youth suicide is now the highest in the world.
The Fitzroy Valley continues to provide a unique model for Aboriginal health – integrating culture, clinical and primary health services taylored to the needs of the people of the region. Walmanjarri Elder Joe Brown says that life has gotten better for everyone with the integration of on-country cultural education.
Aboriginal people need to be involved in solving our own problems – the Elders are the ones that hold on to the culture and the lore, and are the most important aspect of healing our people. Cultural education is what will hold them strong through their lives no matter what the choose to do or where they choose to go. This audio series brings together the voices of the Elders and community leaders from affected communities wishing to speak publicly about the causes and solutions needed to address this issue.