Derby Elder Lorna Hudson OAM was a special guest of The University of Western Australia’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at a summit addressing the urgent issue of self-harm and suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities earlier this week.
The summit was co-sponsored by the Poche Centre.
Lorna Hudson is a co-author of The Elders’ Report into Preventing Indigenous Self-Harm and Youth Suicide. The book was produced between 2012 and 2014 by Indigenous-led social justice organisation People Culture Environment in partnership with Our Generation Media. It was developed in response to a massive and unprecedented increase in Indigenous youth self-harm and suicide that has occurred over the past 20 years across Australia’s Top End.
In her contribution to the Report, Lorna Hudson writes: “There is no balance for young people. They are more adapted to non-Aboriginal culture than their own.
“We need a balance. We need our old people to come and talk to them in regards to culture…All our mob has been pulled into town into somebody else’s country. This makes it difficult to find cultural support…The easy way is to turn to drugs and alcohol…
“Our people feel shame to go to the clinics, hospitals and mental health services. These services have to go outside to the people…We need our own people to be employed on the after-hours services that are required.”
At the summit, Lorna Hudson said that what keeps her strong is her ability to recall her past in the bush and the education she received regarding customary law from her Elders. “Most of my education came from being out in the bush, from culture, hunting, fishing, time with the Elders who showed us Country. As human beings we sometimes forget that we are part of the land. We were all created from the dust of the land and are close to our land: that’s our healing.”
Lorna Hudson was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2001 “for service to community of Derby, particularly through the promotion of health programmes, introducing appropriate technologies to assist women, and as a spokesperson for Indigenous affairs.”
Updated 23 Jun 2014
Updated 23 Jun 2014
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