What are the effects of transgenerational trauma ?
MOST families experienced all of these….
Over the generations our ability as Aboriginal Peoples to heal from the trauma of colonisation has been hindered by our own sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Many of us were unable to move forward in our lives as the past traumas experienced by our parents and grandparents impacted on our present day lives.
As with post-traumatic stress syndrome, we as a People found it difficult to advance ourselves when we lived in a constant state of fight or flight and hyper vigilance. The effects of this trauma varied for each person and family, however the behaviours we developed to survive these times were passed down to our children.As with post-traumatic stress syndrome, we as a People found it difficult to advance ourselves when we lived in a constant state of fight or flight and hyper vigilance. The effects of this trauma varied for each person and family, however the behaviours we developed to survive these times were passed down to our children.
Our sense of wellbeing was also closely linked to our dreamtime, dreaming and ceremonial rights. Assimilation prevented our people from participating in these ceremonies, hence one generation after the next were denied their right to their traditional spiritual journey.
After colonisation, the physical and spiritual loss of our land effected Aboriginal Peoples in many ways. We no longer knew who we were or where we were from. An integral part of our culture is identity, and losing this identity effected our sense of self and impacted on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Transgenerational trauma can manifest in many different ways and effect people differently.
Transgenerational trauma is essentially crimes against our humanity, and is underpinned by a legal system that over 200 years ago decided that assimilation, and in some cases annihilation were the most effective ways in which to manage the Aboriginal People of this land.
Some families experienced the trauma of having their children forcibly removed under the legislation that discriminated against them purely because of the colour of their skin.
Some families were driven from their land into small missions and were forced to live with other families from other countries which they were not traditionally supposed to mix with.
Some entire clans were massacred because they lived on land that the colonies wanted to claim as their own.
Some families were told if they gave up their Aboriginal identity they would be able to live as equals to other white Australians, only to find that they had become totally isolated as they were not accepted by the white people and not allowed to return to their families.
Some families experienced Station Owners who would only pay their Aboriginal workers with alcohol and basic rations. The consumption of alcohol impacted dramatically on our health and our ability to care for our families.
Some families experienced the trauma of having family members imprisoned for minor crimes, only to die during their incarceration.
How does a family and a community recover
from one of these trauma’s,
let alone all of them?