The domino effect of healing

5 Aug 2013   |   Blog   |   Australia   |   Long-term Development

By Bianca Cruse, Caritas Australia's First Australians Project Intern

When the dust is settled on our lives, all we get to keep and take with us is our dignity, our integrity and the love and respect we shared with people.

Red Dust Healing is founded on a cultural belief that we are one people, one mob who do not own but belong to this land.”
- Red Dust Healing Motto

Many people ask ‘why are so many of our people still dying from the effects of alcohol, violence and drugs, and now suicide?’

Nyungar man, Darryl Kickett believes these are the symptoms of the broken spirit of our people. Through his hopeful eyes we can see that the millions of dollars spent on doctors and health programs won’t heal this pain until the spirit of our people is given the same chances to recover.

As the 2013 National Aboriginies and Islanders Day Observance Committee’s (NAIDOC) Person of the Year, Darryl has been working to achieve equality between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians his whole life. He has worked across multiple sectors including Indigenous Land Rights, health, education, Indigenous incarceration, sports and Aboriginal development. Darryl described himself as “a little bit crazy… I try to do too much”. He is passionate when he talks about his contributions to Indigenous life but it isn’t insanity that drives him; it is his belief in a better tomorrow.

A proud Nyungar man, he has these beliefs embedded in his heart, and as a result his community and all who meet him become immediately draw to his positive spirit and his powerful vision for change.

Red Dust Healing changes lives

Red Dust Healing is a travelling program founded by Tom Powell and Randal Ross, and supported by Caritas Australia. The organisation conducts workshops and trains community members to works with some of the most vulnerable Aboriginal communities of Australia. The workshops use simple tools to heal the cycle of violence and the intergenerational effects of colonisation such as anger, hurt, rejection and cultural erosion. Initially, the program was directed at men to strengthen their role within family and in the community, but most importantly their own identity. Now in its second phase, the program aims to heal anyone who hurts.

Darryl Kickett

In April 2012 Darryl first participated in the Red Dust Healing program. He says he immediately felt a change, “I thought it was amazing stuff. Powerful stuff … people seem to get it straight away”. After completing the program he felt a new wave of momentum and he wanted to share these positive emotions.

Shortly after the initial workshop he participated in one called ‘Train the Facilitator’ – with the intention of becoming a community facilitator with Red Dust Healing in South Western Australia.

After completing this workshop and with Tom’s assistance, Darryl received funding from the Department for Indigenous Affairs and conducted four workshops in Anglicare WA, Beananging Kwuurt Institute (the old Sister Kate’s Site), Wollkabunning Kiaka Association Inc (the Old Roelands Mission site) and a men’s group in Armadale Council’s Champion Centre.

Like a domino effect, the community saw the changes in the individuals who walked out of these workshops. Since then, Tom and Darryl have been invited back into the communities to keep the momentum of change strong and positive.

Darryl now feels that change in every aspect of his life. He laughs as he describes his current family situation, recalling that his wife, Professor Anna Haebich, had completed the workshop to “understand” like he did.

And just like the Red Dust Healing philosophy of spreading the love, Darryl is throwing the red dust around in the hopes that he can help to heal the broken spirits of a strong and beautiful culture.


Read more about the Red Dust Healing program


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