On Country Camps to Help Heal Hurt of WA’s Stolen Generations

The Morrison Government will provide $150,000 for Back to Country Cultural Healing Bush Camps, part of a significant project to support members of the Stolen Generations and their families in Western Australia.

The funding will enable the Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation to conduct three camps – for men, women and families – to improve mental and social wellbeing and help counter intergenerational trauma and feelings of disempowerment.

“The road that hundreds of Sister Kate’s ‘Homees’ and thousands of their fellow Stolen Generations have travelled has been challenging and often painful,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.

“However, this project represents an exciting opportunity to walk and work together to reinforce our identity, to heal and to share our cultural strength with the broader community.

“While the camps will be conducted at a variety of locations, the main focus will be on a special Place of Healing, a pristine bush block within Perth’s metropolitan area.”

Minister Wyatt said renewing connections with country and totems and sharing traditions was fundamental to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It is important to celebrate the power of knowledge and wisdom and the strength and resilience of our people, by handing on stories and harnessing the spirit within and around us,” he said.

“Noongar country, where the camps will be held, is famous for its wildflowers and these play a special role in traditional cultural healing practices.”

Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation Chair Glenn Pearson said the organisation had worked for ten years on the healing project.

“It will be wonderful to hold several cultural healing bush camps on the land we are going to build our Place of Healing on,” Mr Pearson said.

“The site played a major role in the lives of the Sister Kate’s Home Kids in their younger years and to be able to walk in the footsteps of childhood brings a sense of place, of belonging and of wellbeing.”

Sister Kate’s Homee Cheryl Phillips said: “We just loved being able to get away from the restrictive life that we lived at the Home, by running across the road to the bush block.

“Now, as adults, we have an opportunity to make something doubly meaningful, by building the Place of Healing on the land that will provide healing for everyone.”

To ensure the messages from the camps and Place of Healing reach a wider audience, a documentary is being made to share people’s experiences and encourage other community members to participate in future cultural healing camps.

The Morrison Government is committed to continuing to work with families, communities, local organisations and government groups to improve Indigenous people’s health and to build ever stronger families and communities.

The Morrison Government has committed $4.1 billion over four years to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve health.

Sister Kate’s was a Stolen Generations children’s institution that originated in 1934.

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