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Were also healers: Elders leading the way in Aboriginal community healing

Cox, T ORCID: 0000-0002-8430-8322, Mond, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X and Hoang, H ORCID: 0000-0001-5116-9947 2022 , 'Were also healers: Elders leading the way in Aboriginal community healing' , Australian Journal of Primary Health , doi:

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cox, T and Mond, J and Hoang, H
Keywords: aboriginal Elders, aboriginal health disparities, closing the gap, community healing, connection to country, cultural values, health policy, participatory action research
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Primary Health
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
ISSN: 1448-7527
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2022 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of La Trobe UniversityLicensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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