Camp offers Aboriginal members chance to reconnect

Picture: File image.
Picture: File image.

ELEVEN Aboriginal people, some from the Stolen Generation and suffered abuse in homes or missions, were given the opportunity in July to return to the Moora area to reconnect with country.

The four-day camp, run by East Perth-based Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, also allowed the group members to reconcile their past and receive free health checks and advice from a mental health nurse and an Aboriginal Health Worker.

Derbarl Yerrigan Stolen Generation caseworker Roger Turvey said the group members’ mental and physical health had suffered because they had not been able to return.

“To take them back to where they grew up allows them to reconnect, understand and heal the old wounds that came from being removed or abused,” he said.

“One of our clients hadn’t been back to the area since he left 42 years ago, so it was a very profound experience for him.”

Mr Turvey said the camp included people ranging in age from 29 to 79, and their reasons for taking part in the camp varied.

“For some, it’s about paying respects to family members who passed away, for others it’s about trying to heal old wounds, and for a few, they have happy memories that they want to reminisce about,” he said.

Mr Turvey said the camps gave people the opportunity to visit the graves of family members, lay wreaths and take part in yarning circles to talk about their experiences.

The camps are funded through the Federal Government’s Bringing Them Home Program.

The next camps are planned for Geraldton, Kellerberrin and Bremer Bay.