Promising practice stories


Marumali Healing Program

This nationally accredited program aims to increase the quality of support available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by trauma as a result of the Stolen Generations.

It enables Indigenous people affected by past removal policies to identify and understand their trauma, the stages of healing from trauma and the types of support they may need on their ‘healing journey’. Tailored programs are delivered to men and women in correctional facilities and young people including those in out of home care and youth at risk.

The program also aims to improve service delivery by providing training to Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers on how to best support people affected by the Stolen Generations policies, including intergenerational trauma.

Established in 2000, Marumali is derived from Aunty Lorraine Peeters’ experience of past removal practices and trauma recovery which has resonated with Indigenous people and communities around Australia.

It is delivered in a culturally safe and appropriate manner by Aunty Lorraine and her daughter Shaan Hamann, who use their personal experiences of trauma to build supportive relationships with participants as they work through the program’s emotionally difficult content.

The program only goes where it has been invited by the local community, and works closely with a local person to build relationships and research the local history and community in order to tailor the program as much as possible.

While the program varies for each workshop and community, it includes the following topics: recognising triggers, accepting grief and loss, talking about the issue, facing demons, returning home, reclaiming the future and reflecting on identity and strength. It is delivered using short presentations, case studies and, individual and group discussions.

It focuses on improving people’s ability to cope by helping them move from experiencing a triggering event, to understanding it and moving forward with their lives based on a renewed sense of identity.

An independent evaluation of the program completed in 2014 found it builds individual, family and community capacity and is based on trauma informed practice.

The evaluation found participants were satisfied with the program’s content, had increased their awareness of past removal practices and intergenerational trauma, had an increased understanding of their clients’ needs and were able to utilise learnings in their workplaces.

Anecdotal evidence also confirmed the program had promoted participants’ personal development and self-awareness and increased their sense of cultural identity.

To read more about this program click here.

Aunty Lorraine Peeters and Shaan Hamann with participants and staff from Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place

Aunty Lorraine Peeters and Shaan Hamann with participants and staff from Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Centre

Reunion to Self journey for Stolen Generations members

Reunion to Self is a new approach to healing for Stolen Generations members developed and piloted by Link-Up SA and supported by the Healing Foundation.

The program is designed for people who are not able to reunite with family or return to country due to inadequate records, as well as those who have not been able to establish an ongoing connection with family, community or country.

With the support of local leaders from the Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk language groups, the program connects Stolen Generations members with Aboriginal people in their local area.

‘Elders give permission for clients to connect with the local stories, history and cultures and provide opportunities to visit sites of significance, with a high emphasis on acknowledging local cultural protocols and cultural safety for all involved,’ according to Link-Up SA Team Manager Lou Turner.

‘People say they feel really safe and humbled to be accepted by the local mob.’

Drawing on the Kaurna dreaming story of Tjilburke whose trail across the lands is followed, participants are led through a series of six day trips on Peramangk and Kaurna country, culminating in an overnight stay at Victor Harbour on Ngarrindjeri country. They visit important cultural sites and take part in yarning circles on topics including colonisation and survival, grief and loss, the healing journey, spiritual healing, and cultural connections.

Coordinated by counsellors and supported by case workers and respected local Elders, the program offers an opportunity to reduce isolation and distress, connect with others in a similar position, learn skills to overcome the effects of trauma and grief, and strengthen identity. It provides a space for Stolen Generations members who cannot return home to grieve, learn and heal together.

The program was delivered over four cycles in 2014, allowing Link-Up SA to observe and reflect on the development of the program between cycles.

Reunion to Self participants at Mt Lofty summit
Reunion to Self
participants at Mt Lofty summit
Reunion to Self participant with the Grieving Mother sculpture at the site of the old Colbrook Home
Reunion to Self
participant with the Grieving Mother sculpture at the site of the old Colbrook Home

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