SCU Professor Judy Atkinson.
SCU Professor Judy Atkinson.

Sorry Day commemorated at SCU

NATIONAL Sorry Day marks a day of ‘hope’, but there is still plenty of work to be done, according to Professor Judy Atkinson, director of the SCU’s Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples.

“When Kevin Rudd apologised to the Aboriginal people, it marked an historical day. However, an apology alone will not excuse the profound effects of transgenerational trauma,” Ms Atkinson said.

“At this stage, National Sorry Day represents an accumulation of a lot of work that focuses on a lot of Aboriginal people being hurt by government policy.”

Yesterday, Prof Atkinson delivered a number of presentations at Southern Cross University as part of Sorry Day, expressing the need to restore the wellbeing of indigenous Australian peoples through the journey of healing.

“It is a spiritual process that can restore the wellbeing of people through strengthening activities and reconnecting with their identity,” she said.

Prof Atkinson believes it is the duty of the academic institutions to start introducing healing initiatives to address the underlying problems at stake.

“For the most part, universities have been treating indigenous peoples through professional development, however, healing needs to happen in order to prevent and treat trauma first and foremost,” she said.

“It’s quite difficult to appreciate the trauma and pain these people have been through unless you’ve been out in the field and seen it for yourself.”

A Stolen Generations survivor and chairwoman of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Healing Foundation, Florence Onus, was invited to the university to share her story, also add- ressing the need to promote the journey of healing.

Her story of pain and trauma experienced across four generations of her family, and her own journey of healing, gave her audience a glimpse into the tragic life she has led, but also how she has broken the cycle of pain through a healing process.

National Sorry Day was not only commemorated by Southern Cross University. Schools across the Northern Rivers district paid respect to the indigenous Australian people.

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