The Healing Foundation Calls for a national First Nations memorial and centre for healing in Canberra

‘Healing the Nation’ – The Healing Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2021-22

The Healing Foundation is calling on the Federal Government to establish a National First Nations Memorial and Centre for Healing in Canberra and a doubling of the core Commonwealth Grant that funds The Healing Foundation’s work to support Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants.

In ‘Healing the Nation’ – The Healing Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2021-22 – the Foundation is also calling for new funding for a range of initiatives to progress the healing of Stolen Generations survivors – including reparations, tailored trauma-aware and healing-informed support for ageing and ailing Stolen Generations survivors, and better access to historical records for survivors; and a National Healing Strategy to address the impact of intergenerational trauma.

The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen said today that a National Memorial for First Nations people in the nation’s capital is long overdue.

“A National First Nations Memorial, which incorporates a Healing Centre, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, would send a strong message to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – and all Australians – that the Federal Government is serious about reconciliation and righting past wrongs,” Ms Petersen said.

“To acknowledge the richness and uniqueness of more than 60,000 years of the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing civilisation on Earth, the Memorial would need to be at least as substantial as the National War Memorial or the National Museum.

“The Healing Foundation proposes that it be a ‘living memorial’ that salutes the past, the present, and the shared future of all Australians as one.

“It would be a national and international attraction that would incorporate the elements of a museum, a gallery, a centre of education and truth telling, and a hub for healing and reconciliation.

“It would celebrate and honour the true history, languages, culture, art, music, customs, and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“It would be a focus and a catalyst for healing the nation.”

Ms Petersen said that The Healing Foundation was established in 2009 as a belated response to the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report, a Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.

“The Healing Foundation started its life in 2009 with a core Commonwealth grant of $6.6 million per year,” she said.

“In 2021, more than eleven years later, our core grant is still $6.6 million per year.

“The need and the demand for trauma-aware and healing-informed expertise from The Healing Foundation has grown significantly over 11 years – and will continue to grow.

“Significant new funding is required to cover existing programs and services – and to meet the demand for expanding these services and establishing new ones as the number of people who identify as Stolen Generations survivors rises dramatically.

“Healing done well takes time, effort, and investment.

“The Healing Foundation is uniquely positioned to show all Australians how healing happens – with a focus on intergenerational healing, rather than intergenerational trauma.

“Our Stolen Generations survivors tell us what will help their healing and the healing of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“A National First Nations Memorial and Healing Centre will help healing.

“Reparations for Stolen Generations survivors will help healing.

“Targeted services and support for ageing and ailing Stolen Generations survivors will help healing.

“A National Healing Strategy will help healing.

“Implementing the recommendations of the Uluru Statement from the Heart will help healing.

“Ending racism will help healing.

“The Healing Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2021-22 provides practical and achievable steps for healing the nation,” Ms Petersen said.

The Submission is available here

To raise awareness about Stolen Generations, The Healing Foundation is sharing this animation about the impacts of intergenerational trauma: youtube.com/watch?v=vlqx8EYvRbQ&t

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to heal trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures, and languages over 230 years. This includes specific actions like the forced removal of children from their families. 

Media contact: Ben O’Halloran –0474 499 911 or ben@healingfoundation.org.au

Story Source: Healing Foundation

Image Source: Healing Foundation

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