Our Healing Our Way May Newsletter

Reunion to Self
journey for Stolen Generations members
Link-Up South Australia has been running a pilot healing initiative called
“Reunion to Self”. The project assists Stolen Generations members for whom
family reunions have not been possible, as well as those who have not been
able to establish an ongoing connection with family, community or country.
With the support of local leaders from the Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk language groups, the Link-Up SA
project aims to connect clients with Aboriginal people in their local area.
“Elders give permission for clients to connect with the local stories, history and cultures and provide opportunities
to visit sites of significance with a high emphasis on acknowledging local cultural protocols and cultural safety for
all involved,” said Link-Up SA Team Manager Lou Turner.
“People said they felt really safe and humbled to be accepted by the local mob.”
Link-Up SA developed the Reunion to Self project in 2014 in response to a gap in their existing service.
“Unfortunately sometimes we hit dead ends in tracing peoples’ family history. Records may have been lost
or destroyed or do not provide adequate information. The Reunion to Self project offers a way for Link-Up to
support these clients,” Lou Turner explained.
Coordinated by counsellors and supported by case workers the project offers an opportunity to overcome
isolation and distress, connect with others in a similar position, learn skills to overcome the effects of trauma and
grief, and strengthen identity. With the support of the Healing Foundation four groups undertook a series of six
day trips and an overnight camp in 2014 and Link-Up SA plans to continue to run the program in 2015 and beyond.
Our Healing Our Way
Newsletter of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
May 2015
Murri School and “closing the gap”
On the eve of Close the Gap Day in March we celebrated the achievements of a joint Healing Foundation and Murri School
program at an event in Brisbane. The Murri School program, developed four years ago, is improving students’ social and
emotional wellbeing and educational outcomes.
What is unique about the Murri School program?
• It builds a whole of school understanding and approach to trauma.
• It is holistic, bringing together Aboriginal family workers, psychologists, trauma informed teachers, and medical and allied health professionals to create a culturally appropriate, supportive environment for all students.
• It engages, involves and builds relationships with families, including through family camps. This has resulted in more parents referring their children for support and more families engaging with the school due to positive word of mouth.
Throughout the project 70% of participating students have reported improvements in their ability to manage difficult situations
at home and at school, 80% have reported increased help seeking behaviours at home and at school and 90% say they have a
stronger connection with their families. Year 7 student Harmony said,
“When I came to the Murri School it changed my life. I love the Murri School!”
It has been so successful that elements of the program are now being rolled out within the NSW State school system at Bourke
High School and Brewarrina Central School. We believe that implementing this model nationally would play a significant role in
improving the health and wellbeing of our kids along with school retention and educational outcomes – all which help to Close
the Gap.
ABOVE: Guests and staff at the Murri School event:
(L-R) Tracy, Noeleen, Dian, Leann and Jeff
RIGHT: The Murri School dancers
PAGE 1 •1 March
• May
Strong Men Strong Communities - Crab Claw Island, NT
In December 2014 a group of Aboriginal men representing the
Darwin Town Communities came together at Crab Claw Island
in the NT as part of the Strong Men Strong Communities project.
This was the first time that an opportunity has been provided for men in these communities (Bagot, Belyuen,
One Mile Dam, Minmarama, Kulaluk, Palmerston Indigenous Village, Knuckeys Lagoon, Accacia and Amangal)
to come together in a forum to discuss issues that affect them and their families and propose their own
solutions, particularly in a healing and leadership framework.
Over the two day men’s gathering at Crab Claw Island the men discussed their role as men, the issues causing
disharmony and imbalance in their communities and how harmony and balance could be restored. Participants
indicated that they no longer wished to refer to their communities as “town camps”. They felt that using the term
“town communities” is a more positive term for their homes.
One of the key actions resulting from the workshop was to form a Town Communities Leadership Group (TCLG)
from the members of the Crab Claw group and set up a process for meeting regularly. Some of the group’s aims
are to advocate for the town communities and to develop a Town Communities Employment Strategy.
The TCLG recently had their first meeting following on from the Crab Claw Island gathering. The Darwin Town
Communities men are about to commence their own series of healing and leadership camps, workshops, yarning
circles and cultural activities to help strengthen the men and address particular issues of concern.
The Healing Foundation would like to acknowledge the participants and staff for their ongoing commitment,
as we all look forward to the next chapter.
The Strong Men Strong Communities Project is a healing and leadership program being delivered
in the eight Darwin Town Communities by the Healing Foundation and the Darwin Aboriginal and
Islander Women’s Shelter Indigenous Men’s Service (DAIWS IMS). It is funded by the Commonwealth
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
PAGE 2 •2 March
• May
Meet Healing Foundation Board member: Stephanie Harvey
Stephanie is the CEO of Indigenous Community Volunteers, based in Canberra, and a proud Bidjara woman
from Queensland. She joined the Healing Foundation Board in 2014. Stephanie kindly agreed to share
some details about herself for our readers.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up as one of 13 kids in regional Queensland.
It was an interesting upbringing because I lost both
of my parents at a very early age. Whilst there was
certainly grief and loss in my childhood, it gave me
really good instincts about other people and that is
something I value being a manager of other people and
organisations - being able to trust my gut instinct.
My experience also taught me how important family
is - whether it’s your biological family or the people
that you grow up around. Family and community help
you to secure your roots and help you feel connected
to country and to the mob. It gives you strength and
resilience to tackle what life throws at you from time
to time. It also gives you a great bunch of people to
celebrate success and achievements with.
What kind of work do you do?
My work has been in community development with
a focus on the rights of women and children. I’m
currently the CEO of Indigenous Community Volunteers
(ICV) which is a community development organisation
working in quite a unique way in Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities. We don’t have an agenda
as we only work at community invitation and we only
work at what community identifies as its needs. We
work in a capacity-building way to provide resources to
community to achieve their aims.
But at the end of the day I could say ICV is many things.
We are community development, not for profit, a
charity, an NGO – but at its essence, we are a people
organisation – people working with people to achieve
things that are important for people.
What experience do you bring to your role as a
Board member at the Healing Foundation?
I was excited to be provided with the opportunity to
join the Healing Foundation board. I have a background
in governance. Governance is important to me and
it’s one of the key needs in our communities - to be
transparent and have strong governance and to be clear
around the strategy leading the organisation.
I like the strategic-thinking component of being a
director. I like being part of the big conversations,
talking about what’s possible. Whether those
conversations turn into a strategy or not, it’s important
that we have those conversations.
I also bring a background in financial literacy. That
might sound a bit boring but I think financial literacy
is important – it’s tied so closely to governance. It’s
important for organisations like the Healing Foundation
and ICV to be leaders in this area – for our staff, clients
and supporters.
What have been some of your proudest
I’m proud to be a CEO - to have started off as a jillaroo
and a cotton chipper and to now be leading this amazing
organisation. But I’m most proud of my family and my
son who is a remarkable human being.
Family, fishing, trekking, reading and being on Country.
My son is 27. Lately we’ve been going up to Eucambene
near Jindabyne (in NSW) for trout fishing. When your
kids become adults, with their own lives, you don’t get
as much real time, one on one, with them. So my son
and I camp overnight every Mothers Day. It’s not very
long, maybe 36 hours, and there’s a lot of silence - but
it’s quality silence and that leads to really beautiful
conversations about life and what’s going on for him
and for me. And I get to go fishing! If I hook the first
one, it’s a big deal for me, because my son is an expert
I like silence. I’m around people all the time. I’m quiet
and introspective and introverted so I need that quiet
space to recharge and reconnect and that makes me
With ICV I get to visit communities and sometimes camp
out or sit under a tree talking with nannas and aunties.
To go back on country, whether it’s my own country or
the privilege of being on someone else’s country, gives
you that time to reconnect and think about what’s really
important as an Aboriginal woman. It’s a great space.
I am delighted to announce that Professor Steve
Larkin was appointed as the new Chair for the
Healing Foundation at our recent May board meeting.
Professor Larkin replaces Charles Passi who chaired
our organisation for the last two years. Charles Passi
decided to stand down from the position in order to
pursue other endeavours. I would like to take this
opportunity to thank Charles for his contribution to the
development of the Healing Foundation and to wish
him all the best for his future.
Professor Larkin has been a member of the board of
the Healing Foundation since February 2013. He is a
Kungarakany man and is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor
Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University
and a member of the beyondblue board. He has a long
history of working with Aboriginal communities around
the country, and has held several leadership positions
such as the Chief Executive Officer at the National
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
and National Aboriginal Health Advisor with the
Australian Medical Association.
Joining Steve in the leadership is board member
Leann Wilson who was elected as Deputy Chair.
We look forward to having Steve and Leann bring their
experience and wisdom to lead the Healing Foundation
through the next phase of our journey.
Richard Weston
I don’t have friends, I have family. People who are close
to me, no matter what orbit they’re circling in, are like
family and I’m proud that I’m becoming the person that
gathers incredible people into their life. I feel very lucky
and blessed.
“ People who are close to me, no matter what orbit they’re
circling in, are like family and I’m proud that I’m becoming
the person that gathers incredible people into their life.
I feel very lucky and blessed ”.
PAGE 3 •3 March
• May
What things in life make you happy?
New Chair for the
Healing Foundation
Steve Larkin
– a comic about Intergenerational Trauma The Healing Foundation is proud to announce the publication of our first ever comic.
It’s a story about intergenerational trauma, resulting from past government policies,
and its effects on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities, families and individuals.
15 to 21 May – National Families Week
This year’s theme is Stronger Families, Stronger Communities.
26 May – National Sorry Day
We wanted to get it right – to make sure the story would be real enough so that
readers could connect with it. The process of writing the story involved consulting
with our advisors – members of the Youth Reference Group and students at the
Murri School in Brisbane. They helped us to develop the story and characters and to
make sure that the comic was something that would be relevant to young people. The
Healing Foundation worked with a media company, Inception Strategies, to create the
This day marks 18 years since the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament.
A lot has changed since then – Australians are more aware of the forced removals and their effects on
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Unfortunately many of the recommendations from
the report are yet to be implemented.
27 May to 3 June – National Reconciliation Week
The story focuses on a teenage boy named Marlee. He is set to be a big footy star, is
popular at school, is fit and good looking, and has a girlfriend. But there is something
stirring inside of Marlee that starts to come out – an anger that he can’t control. When
his life starts to unravel it becomes time for his parents to step in and share their family
story about survival and staying strong.
National Reconciliation Week starts on 27 May which marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
It ends on Mabo Day, 3 June. This year’s theme is It’s time to change it up!
5 to 12 July – NAIDOC Week
This year’s theme for NAIDOC is We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.
All Australians are encouraged to celebrate local and national sacred places; and take the time to learn
of the places’ traditional names, history and stories.
Marumali Program workshops for 2015
The next round of Marumali workshops will be held in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast on the
following dates:
Marumali Program (2 Days)
for non-Aboriginal Service Providers
21-22 May 2015, Melbourne
Want to receive our
newsletter in your inbox?
Marumali Program (4 Days)
for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Service Providers
4-7 August 2015, Sydney
Marumali Program Risk Management (2 Days)
for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Service Providers
We’ve got lots of copies of the comic book to share.
If you would like a copy send us an email with your name and address
to [email protected] or call us on 02 6124 4410.
PAGE 4 •4 March
• May
Sign up on our website!
Go to the bottom of our
homepage at
1-2 October 2015, Gold Coast
For further information please visit http://marumali.com.au