Red dust healing: acknowledging the past, changing the future
Powell, T, Ross, R, Kickett, D & Donnelly, JF 2014, 'Red dust healing: acknowledging the past, changing the future', in P Dudgeon, H Milroy & R Walker (eds), Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, pp. 459-474.ISBN: 9780977597536
This chapter provides a view from a new angle. It briefly describes a critical perspective on how a history of dispossession, rejection and powerlessness negatively affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family structures and individual development and behaviour, and gave rise to the intergenerational transmission of trauma. However, it is important to note that conveying the events of history and the impacts of colonisation is not about pointing the finger and blame. It is about giving an understanding about the impact it all has had on our families, especially our men. All of this history has removed a key ingredient for a strong family—resulting in the taking away of the man as a source of love to family and the critical role and responsibility of that man. This chapter describes Red Dust Healing, an innovative and highly effective approach to assisting men and women in their efforts to heal and make better choices for themselves and in their relationships. A primary experience of those who have suffered trauma and grief, is rejection. Like an infectious disease, rejection has reached epidemic proportions in many communities, not just Aboriginal communities but wherever a person’s capacity to lead a meaningful life has been crippled by the feeling of being unloved or unwanted. Red Dust Healing examines the nature of rejection, the causes of rejection, the results of rejection and most importantly the remedies for rejection. We conclude our discussion with some outcome data and anecdotal reports on the life-changing and sometimes life-saving effects of this program.