Drumming brings Arawak woman back to purpose

Drumming brought me closer to purpose because I could share my pain with others. “As a woman with a lot of moving around and a lot of anxiety I had struggled with my self-esteem,”…

Drumming brings Arawak woman back to purpose

Drumming brought me closer to purpose because I could share my pain with others.

“As a woman with a lot of moving around and a lot of anxiety I had struggled with my self-esteem,” the young Indigenous woman says. “I lived in a really rough part of town, my family is in the correctional centre and I’d gone through a really rough period in my life.”

She’d previously found solace through running with Kokoda Track runners from Ngarinyangongi Station, but it was with Indigenous drumming that she found an outlet to channel her emotions.

“I just started doing it with older Indigenous girls in my neighbourhood and we started doing drumming and healing in our own little way.”

Drumming brought her closer to purpose because I could share my pain with others. “Once you’ve done it with someone and you really get to know them and you’re able to communicate without that barrier that now they can share their stories and things they’ve gone through with you.”

Many Indigenous Indigenous people have a very close bond with their music, personal or religious customs, stories, values and stories of their ancestors. Instead of having a direct hand in song or dance, many Indigenous people tend to practice foot tapping and drums to express personal feelings or to express the spiritual.

Research by the University of New South Wales’ UQ Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health found that 70 per cent of Indigenous people live in a culture and spiritual context, despite the fact there are only around 25 per cent of Aboriginal people living in on-country communities.

“It’s always felt to me that there needs to be less prescribed or prescribed-like cultural spaces because a lot of the time we are walking back from the ritualism or practices we’re doing in these more prescribed environments to the more active, formal or performance spaces.”

She holds that more of a connection to the cultural and spiritual way of doing things is vital to healing mental health issues and she’s hoping that businesses like the Hunter Street Aboriginal Business Centre “will help us get more people back into those spaces to access more safe and structured safe spaces to express ourselves.”

Drumming brings her “closer to purpose because I could share my pain with others.

Speaking to SBS World News, Dr Mutya Williams-Demell said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture plays a part in healing but that education and respect will help promote good mental health in the Indigenous community.

“We’re keen to really work with schools, with cultures, with territories as well as lifestyle and sports organizations to see how we can help youth develop confidence in their bodies, in their health, in their self-worth, and build leadership skills.

“That will come to us from a holistic practice in Indigenous cultural practice, holistic lifestyles, holistic health and wellness, which is really just understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of life. And a culture that encourages us to not only live healthily, but to fully realise our worth and our power as well.”

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