226 x 150 mm
Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia
I was running a workshop in the Kimberleys, and in the circle a woman began to speak from a place of deep pain and despair. She described herself as bad, dirty, ugly, words she had taken into herself from childhood experiences of abuse. I lent forward and sang her a song. 'How could anyone ever tell you, you are anything less than beautiful?' While sitting with her, as the words settled into her soul, another woman said to the circle: you are re-creating song lines - from trauma trails. I was honoured by this description of my work.
Providing a startling answer to the questions of how to solve the problems of generational trauma, Trauma Trails moves beyond the rhetoric of victimhood, and provides inspiration for anyone concerned about Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities today. Beginning with issues of colonial dispossession, Judy Atkinson also sensitively deals with trauma caused by abuse, alcoholism, and drug dependency.
Sharing their stories, contributors also demonstrate the Aboriginal gift to the nation - Dadirri: listening to one another, and the way in which it provides a way forward. By inviting Non-Indigenous people to sit with them in the circle, sharing stories, listening to and learning from each other, song lines emerge of a courageous journey, pointing us in the direction of change and healing.
Judy Atkinson is of Jiman and Bundjalung descent as well as having Celtic-German heritage, and is Professor of Indigenous Australian Studies at Southern Cross University. She has worked within areas of Aboriginal community health and welfare for many years.