In the lead up to January 26 2020, the bush fire crisis has become a painful reminder of colonisation in Australia says Wurundjeri and Ngurai Illum-Wurrung therapist and cultural consultant Sue-Anne Hunter.
January 26 traditionally is The Day of Mourning that was commemorated in 1938 on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet.
In 2020 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are seeing more complex layers of issues from the impacts of colonisation after witnessing over 200 years of land and water mismanagement.
The bush fire crisis has created a new level of displacement for many communities, linking the historical imprint of the removal of Aboriginal people off country to missions.
Sue-Anne says the way forward in the grieving process is to be kinder to ourselves and each other, starting the year off by completing a paper on the fires and the impacts to our spirit.
She also talks on how a healing modality called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a way Aboriginal health workers can help heal communities traumatised by the fires.
Sue-Anne completed a Creswick Fellowship Report with Jenny Dwyer in 2019 titled 'Helping to Heal the Trauma of Australia's First People: Toward a Culturally Competent EMDR."
The research shows how EMDR has been used in healing survivors of mass shootings and natural disasters overseas and it's time First Nations people had the opportunity to access good quality treatment for mental health issues stemming from the symptoms of PTSD, grief and trauma.
Aboriginal Health Workers can contact Sue-Anne Hunter if you’re interested in being trained in EMDR so you can work on this modality with community.