Bangawarra naa

by Liz Cameron

Institution: University of Newcastle
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: traditional; healing; Aboriginal; Indigenous; health; culture; arts; trauma
Record ID: 1038431
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/1059928


Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Ways of making and seeing creative Aboriginal knowledges. An interpretation and reflection of traditional Dharug Aboriginal Australian creative psychological healing practices. Ways of making and seeing through creative Aboriginal knowledges. Translation: ‘Bangawarra’ is an Australian Aboriginal Dharug word meaning ways of doing or making, ‘naa’ refers to deep and multiple ways of seeing. A culmination of life’s work as a practicing Dharug Artist within the realms of psychological creativity processes in traditional healing practices. Within this dissertation expertise lies within Dharug Murramurra communal knowledge systems of psychological creativity within traditional healing. From this perspective, I argue that creativity within healing has the capacity to communicate cultural meaning and spiritual messages in addressing physical, emotional and social health through a restorative holistic framework. This dissertation defines the importance of creativity or ways of making (Bangawarra) and the need to revitalise traditional healing practices in addressing the ongoing inequities of loss, grief and trauma since colonisation within Australia. This research grew out of my concern of the lack of understandings regarding the value of traditional Aboriginal creative making within healing. Unresolved historical transgenerational trauma continues to impact on Aboriginal health and wellbeing, with many culturally inappropriate programs acting as band aid effects with short term solutions. I argue that healing associated with internal pain and suffering requires a comprehensive holistic approach that is inclusive of cultural and spiritual dynamics of individuals. Within this dissertation I highlight Dharug traditional practices as an example of culturally appropriate care as a way to address trauma. By acknowledging past trauma associated with colonisation and present distress associated with situational circumstances, addressing internalised pain and suffering of Aboriginal Australian people’s needs more attention. I argue that creativity within the realms of traditional healing is reactive and responsive process in dealing with unresolved internalised feelings and emotions that are often difficult to express. From a Dharug standpoint, I present how visual imagery has the capacity to communicate feeling where words may fail.