Torres Strait communities taking back control of their own healing

Torres Strait Island communities are leading their own healing by addressing the trauma, distress and long-term impacts caused by colonisation.

The island communities of Kerriri, Dauan and Saibai will host a series of healing forums coordinated by The Healing Foundation, in conjunction with Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated; the leading family and community wellbeing service provider in the Torres Strait.

Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated has advocated for women, men, children and their families for over 32 years, providing cultural, spiritual and emotional wellbeing and support.

Identifying the need for healing in the Torres Strait, Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated Board President Mrs Regina Turner said: “We believe that the forums will provide Torres Strait communities a voice for creating their own healing solutions.”

The Kerriri, Dauan and Saibai communities will lead all conversations during the healing forums and together with The Healing Foundation and Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated, they will co-design a roadmap to healing with priority solutions identified and developed by community members.

“The forum discussions will ensure that we implement community identified strategies, delivered through a culturally appropriate and sensitive process, tailored to each island community,” Mrs Turner said.

The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen has family ties to the Torres Strait and understands firsthand the intergenerational impacts of colonisation at the individual, family and community level.

“For generations our Torres Strait communities have experienced the devaluing of our culture, language and ways of life that had previously sustained us for tens-of-thousands of years,” Ms Petersen said.

“We can see real change when we create a place of safety where communities can speak for themselves, tell their own stories and be in charge of their own healing.”

The forums will create opportunities for community members to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment and a shared vision for healing, by:

  • identifying local and regional opportunities to embed appropriate healing practices
  • building upon local partnerships to enable better healing outcomes
  • building strong community leadership and governance that fosters pride in spirituality and culture .

Kerriri (Hammond Island) will host the first forum on 21 September, followed by Dauan Island on 23 September and Saibai Island on 24 September. Similar forums were held in 2018 at Thursday Island, Iama and Masig.

Representatives from each island community will be available for comment on request.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to heal trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures and languages over 230 years.  This includes specific actions like the forced removal of children from their families.

Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation based in the Torres Strait region with programs, services and resources designed to support women, men, children and their families with cultural, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.

 

Media contact: Ben O’Halloran – 0474 499 911 or ben@healingfoundation.org.au

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