Seven-Days of Survivor-Led Truth-Telling

On the 26th May, The Healing Foundation (THF) began a media drive to mark National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week. The drive was titled ‘Seven Days of Survivor-Lead Truth-Telling’.

One goal was to highlight the origin of and intention behind National Sorry Day by resharing and reelevating survivors’ stories. Another goal was to provide knowledge and tools for the healing journey, in the spaces where those following along have an influence.

THF are pleased and grateful for all those who followed along with the media drive, liking, sharing, commenting and re-posting the truths told by survivors, as well as their calls to action.

The theme for Reconciliation Week this year was “Be A Voice for Generations,” and during the week THF reminded Australians of the original voices for generations: Stolen Generations survivors.  These survivors are still waiting for their voices to be heard, and for adequate and now urgent responses.

On Day 3, the voice of Stolen Generation Survivor David Wragge was shared: “I call on the QLD government to implement a redress scheme that is owed to First Nations Stolen Generations Survivors for the forced removal, abuse, violence and displacement that still bring us trauma and pain today.”

Followers were reminded at the end of the seven days that the work is not over, and were invited to join THF throughout the year.

Across the week, posts on social media channels – LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook – highlighted the following, and pointed readers towards additional resources:

  1. National Sorry Day: On the importance of National Sorry Day and asked followers to reflect on your role in healing.
  2. A Voice to Parliament: THF shared our new lesson plans for years 10, 11 and 12 to learn more about The First Nations Voice to Parliament.
  3. Reparations & Redress: The critical need for nationally consistent redress was covered, and elevated calls from Tony Hansen and David Wragge were shared, on the urgent need for redress in QLD and WA; the only two states in Australia yet to implement a redress scheme for Stolen Generations survivors.
  4. The Gap within the Gap: Evidence was re-shared that Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants carry a burden affecting life outcomes over and above that of the rest of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
  5. Truth-Telling: Stories were shared directly from survivors – from Kinchela Boys Home and an animation explaining what intergenerational trauma is and how survivors lead intergenerational healing.
  6. Healing Investment: An article written by THF Chair, Professor Steve Larkin and published by Croakey Health Media was shared, which calls for a universal healing card for survivors, as well as urgent healthcare reform.
  7. Justice for Survivors: The week was recapped on the week and the urgent need for healing action summarised.

On the whole, across the seven days, the following urgent needs were raised:

That Governments must have nationally consistent redress schemes for Survivors; remove the barriers for survivors in accessing records; scale up investment in community-led healing programs; scale up the current investment in the network of Stolen Generations organisations to support survivor-led and collective healing; improve aged care for First Nations peoples; continue a self-learning journey.

All who saw the posts were encouraged to commit to finding credible sources of facts on trauma experiences, recovery and healing for Survivors. The hope is that many learnt, reflected and committed to action during the week.

One social media follower, a cultural healer and counsellor, commented, “I totally agree. Something needs to be put into action immediately. It has to be a group effort from all our healers across the country. Mob live in different states to where they’re from or where the trauma took place. We need ongoing healing programs that cater for all.” They went on to say, “I struggle to find the right model that fills this gap. A way to seek funding to ensure its spread across the nation. First of all, we need a list of all our healers and their specialties for survivor centred approaches. We need to walk together.”

Another aptly summarised, “Sorry is a doing word. First things first:  #reparations  #landback  #restitution  #redress  #endracism  BEFORE we can approach #reconciliation“, while yet another said, “A sobering reminder, and so disappointing that still the truth is muddied and diluted.”

One follower noted that: “SORRY DAY is NOT just a token, it is the first step for healing to take place. Please consider supporting the YES campaign for the Voice to Parliament.”

Encouragingly, another follower noted: “We can amplify the voice of the stolen generations and of all First Nations people. It is here now in our hands.”

Followers were also encouraged to visit THF website for resources like the Make Healing Happen Report, Collective Healing Review, and Schools Resource Kits.

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