Main : colonisation, human rights, Indigenous, non-fiction
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.
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2003 Shortlist, The Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing
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What Trauma Trails ultimately offers is a pathway to healing through the listening to, and telling of, stories that is based in Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices (the We-Ali program). This book speaks to the wisdom of the elders, to the incredible strength of Indigenous peoples, and to the enduring power of women. Ambelin Kwaymullina
, Australian Women Writers
I recommend this complex, well-composed and emotionally satisfying book to anyone who has an interest in improving the quality of Australian psychological work. Craig San Roque
, Aboriginal History 2004, Vol 28
'Trauma Trails is a remarkable book by any standards … [it has] much to say about diagnosis and treatment, of individuals and whole social groups. It is a substantial reconciliative achievement and should encourage others to bridge the cultural divide in imaginative ways.' Antonia Esten
, Journal of Australian Studies
I remember how you were,
not how you are. We were we
until we became you and I.
Midori and Âu Cô are international
but I am madness
and madness is me
it holds you captive
like a hapless bunny
caught in the headlights.
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