This Reconciliation Week the theme is ‘In This Together’, highlighting the need for a combined approach to reconciliation that involves all of Australia. This theme is an important reminder as we adapt to changes in the current crisis, it is now more important than ever to come together and support each other in shared experiences.
At Youth Off The Streets, our Aboriginal Services team is committed to working with young people and their communities to achieve reconciliation. Our Cultural Connections program, proudly funded by Future Generation Australia, focuses on healing mechanisms using traditional Aboriginal practice. This week we would like to highlight one way the team is affecting real change in the lives of these young people through the indigenous practices of narrative therapy and yarning circles.
‘In This Together’ is an opportunity for the broader Australian community to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the sharing of stories. Narrative therapy involves the telling of one’s story, to others, in a yarning circle. Telling stories can help to ‘identify your own truth’ and confront past trauma that young people may be exposed to. This traditional practice is just one of many ways our Aboriginal Services team treat intergenerational trauma.
Tyson Birtles, Manager of Aboriginal Services, says narrative therapy can help young people discover their own truth and come to terms with hardships they have faced in their lives.
“This is our form of counselling and it helps our young people confront and identify where their trauma has stemmed from. As a culture that has been made to forget a lot of their history and traditions, it is crucial to keep encouraging the sharing of these stories between Aboriginal communities and to the broader Australia community.”
“Our team will often do this with our young people talking together under the trees and being one with the earth. This allows stronger bonds to form not only between each other but also with culture and land. By forming these stronger connections, we hope that together we can all ban together and achieve reconciliation.”
Many of these therapeutic practices are used to this day to help Aboriginal communities that are still suffering a legacy of trauma from the Stolen Generation. This Reconciliation Week, we urge the broader Australian community to come together and learn more about traditional Indigenous techniques and to remember that to achieve reconciliation, we are all ‘In This Together’.
On the path to reconciliation, Youth Off The Streets is fortunate for our Cultural Connections program to be funded by Future Generation Australia. As we adapt to changes through social distancing, the response to the needs of Indigenous communities needs to adapt as well. Our relationship with Future Generation Australia over the past five years has led to several programs and services for Youth Off The Streets. We thank Future Generation Australia for their steadfast support to young Aboriginal people as well as their commitment to reconciliation.
This Reconciliation Week, Youth Off The Streets would like to acknowledge members of the Stolen Generation and the significant trauma that has been passed down through the years.