The Healing on Country report is a project being created by Traditional Cultural Practices an Elders led not for profit organisation. The Report will contain a collection of in-depth interviews with First Nations Elders and community leaders across Australia. In their own words, Elders and community leaders will explain the power of being on Country and practicing Culture to heal the physical, mental and emotional pain of young First Nations people.

Elders have always had the capacity to nurture and heal young people on their own Country, it is time for key decision makers to take notice and support Elders led healing programs.


The removal of economic support from First Nations homelands, intervention, disenfranchisement, social deprivation, discrimination, and unresolved political issues has led to a situation where increasing numbers of young First Nations People are committing suicide and other acts of self-harm. These suicide rates are the highest in the World for youth aged between 12 and 24 years of age.

Western designed intervention programs are not working to reduce this. Mainstream service providers often struggle to address local issues because they are not Culturally attuned to the local environment, the central failing of a western approach is the lack of Cultural safety. The rigid mainstream services are not agile enough to accommodate Cultural, Spiritual, and traditional practices.

First Nations Communities have the capacity but not the resources to undertake Cultural interventions to increase well-being outcomes. First Nations Elders are identified and respected members of their Communities. They are the central pillars of Culture, through Elders Communities connect to Culture. Elder knowledge is handed down through generations and carries the strength of their ancestors. The leadership of Elders is respected and valued.

The key to addressing the well-being of at-risk young People is enabling First Nations People to lead on issues that affect their Community. Many First Nations people have a deep mistrust towards existing mainstream services due to past and present experiences of dispossession and disempowerment since colonisation. There are not enough First Nations-led consultation processes that capture the voices of First Nations communities. Previous consultation processes have been fraught with problems resulting in substandard outcomes. Often decision-makers engage Community after they have already decided an outcome.

We must transform the way in which social issues are approached in Community by putting First Nations practices at the centre and not at the periphery.

The Healing on Country Report seeks to create a platform for Elders to express their way to promote Cultural and traditional healing practices. First Nations People do not seperate self from Country. Caring for Country is caring for oneself. This is central to our proposal to facilitate and promote healing on Country.

Traditional healing and conservation of traditional lands goes hand-in-hand. In a great many circumstances working on and for Country provides (delete for) the Cultural (delete intervention)strengths and security  missing in European or Western approaches.

At the core of this solution is a belief that a traditional approach to healing, that reconnects young people to their Community and Culture, is needed.

The vision, insights and wisdom that can be offered by Elders and Community leaders towards this is an area that has not yet reached the attention it deserves.

The aim of the Report is for an immediate National action to address and fund Community-led projects to increase the well-being and sustainability of First Nations Communities.

Note the Healing on Country Report will be recorded during the making of the documentary “The Gift” To find out more about this film visit the Human Development page.

To help support the making of the report please contact us at

We welcome donations (which are tax deductible) and in kind logistical support.