This page includes readings, media, and discussion around topics such as trauma, violence, death, discrimination and racism. Please be aware that the following stories may cause sadness and distress for some viewers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images, voices and videos of deceased persons.
In 1788, Aboriginal land was invaded by British colonists on the premise that the land belonged to no-one (‘terra nullius’). It is estimated that there were between 300,000 to 1 million Aboriginal people who lived in Australia at the time of invasion.
Many Indigenous men, women and children died of introduced diseases to which they had no resistance such as smallpox, influenza and measles. Many also died in random killings, punitive expeditions and organised massacres.
An estimated 17,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people survived the Stolen Generations. There are about 100,000 second generation descendants of survivors spread across Australia.
Intergenerational trauma is when the systematic exploitation, repeat and continual abuse, racism and poverty experienced by one person extends to future generations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia have experienced trauma as a result of colonisation, violence, loss of culture and land as well as the forced removal of children.
Intergenerational trauma exists in a vicious cycle where the trauma experienced is directly linked to poor physical health, mental health problems, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, self harm and suicide. This trauma is then passed on through parenting practices, behavioural problems, violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Racial discrimination is when a person is not given the same opportunities or respect as others in a similar situation because they were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. Racism is a pervasive experience in the life of Aboriginal Australians that begins in childhood.
Beyond Blue reports that four out of five Aboriginal people regularly experience racism. When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience racism it impacts their mental health, putting them at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety substance use and attempted suicide.
Tracking the Milky Way wishes to acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities of Australia, and we respect and recognise that they still have a strong continuing connection to their culture, land, water and community.
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Tracking The Milky Way is a Gunawirra Initiative.