In accordance with the Evaluation Framework principles, the first step in establishing strong healthy communities is to acknowledge and understand the devastating and enduring impacts of colonisation on Indigenous people’s contemporary lives. It also requires understanding the various pathways necessary for healing from historical trauma, using both cultural and contemporary understandings and processes to support social and emotional wellbeing. Establishing culturally responsive community, family and individual support systems and programs to promote pathways to recovery through dealing with loss, grief and disconnection, trauma and helplessness, and powerless and lack of control is essential to reduce mental health issues, high risk behaviours and suicide. This in turn requires:
- Self-determination and community governance
- Reconnection and community life
- Restoration and community resilience
Although there is considerable overlap within the three themes, it is important to address each one specifically as well as all three collectively to promote healing and recovery across generations. The interrelatedness of the ways in which the ongoing history of transgenerational trauma impacts on individual, family and community social and emotional wellbeing, and specific pathways to recovery, are depicted in Figure 24.2 below (Milroy, Dudgeon & Walker, 2014, p. 424).
The diagram shows how each of the pathways to recovery outlines a conceptual framework and theory of change for program development and, in combination, provide a holistic framework to support community life and development, which include both the types of questions required to be addressed in developing, implementing and evaluating programs and services and the types of promising programs that are useful for community groups to consider in pursuing each of the respective pathways in re-establishing individual, family and community social and emotional wellbeing.
The figure depicts how each of the circles encompass the specific pathways to recovery related to each of three trauma themes. In combination they affirm that recognition of cultural strengths and facilitation of Indigenous ways of working, leadership, healing and empowerment is fundamental to promoting sustainable recovery. At the centre, each of the pathways of recovery come together to provide the holistic sense of health and social and emotional wellbeing for individual, family and community (Milroy et al., 2014).