University Of Tasmania
150297 - Were also healers.pdf (725.92 kB)

‘We’re also healers’: Elders leading the way in Aboriginal community healing

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:08 authored by Cox, T, Jon MondJon Mond, Thi HoangThi Hoang
Background: The impact of colonisation, dispossession and marginalisation on the health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples (hereafter respectfully referred to as Aboriginal people) is well documented. Aboriginal people continue to practice traditional healing, and in recent years have initiated numerous community-based healing programs around Australia. The Closing the Gap policy has also resulted in numerous community health programs. Despite these program and policy responses, Aboriginal people continue to experience persistent health disparities. The role of Aboriginal Elders in shaping Aboriginal health has yet to be a focus of research attention. This paper reports on a study that examined the contributions of Elders to the healing of Aboriginal people in a remote Tasmanian community.

Methods: Our co-designed participatory action research methodology was undertaken with eight community Elders.

Results: Analysis of qualitative data derived through interviews and yarning circle discussions revealed an emerging theme of community healing; with Elders undertaking a suite of therapeutic practices, and promoting cultural values to strengthen Aboriginal identity, community cohesion and connections to Country. The Elders identified healing as an essential process in response to intergenerational trauma, racism and marginalisation.

Conclusions: The findings inform policy stakeholders to consider the wisdom and voice of Elders in addressing Aboriginal community healing.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Primary Health










School of Health Sciences


C S I R O Publishing

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2022 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of La Trobe University Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Rural and remote area health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community service programs