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Hampshire, WJ 2011, 'DHANGUDE DUNGHUTTI BURRAI Welcomed to Dunghutti Land : towards a shared understanding of grief and loss', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright WJ Hampshire 2011


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of this country. I pay respect to the Elders, past, present and future. The thesis was made possible because I was made warmly welcome by the traditional owners of Dunghutti Land.


There is limited research which focuses on the meaning and experience of Aboriginal grief and loss from Aboriginal people themselves and thus there are currently no clinical Aboriginal models of grief, loss or bereavement on which to base care delivery, or service provision.


The study is an ethnographic study which was guided and approved by key Aboriginal people living in Dunghutti country, including the Board of Governance at Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service.


The study aimed to document and analyse the needs of Aboriginal people living in Dunghutti country related to grief, loss and bereavement.


The study has documented the beliefs, values and opinions related to the experience of grief and loss. In addition the study has highlighted the meaning of grief for participants, (which is much broader than the meaning of grief for non-Aboriginal people) and the study has shown that the community involved has a unique history, which shapes the current experience of grief. Therefore culturally safe health care would include this experience. The study has confirmed that Aboriginal people who participated hold strong beliefs and practice rituals in relation to death, dying, loss and grief.

Outcomes from the study are significant, firstly, that the symbolic perspective on Aboriginal grief model developed for the study is unique to this study and could be used for future qualitative health studies. Secondly, the findings of the study could be used to support inter-professional health education related to cultural safety.