Culture is healing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer tell us that connecting to culture is an important part of healing and survivorship.

BCNA recently led two locally based cultural healing projects to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with cancer to connect and support each other in culturally safe spaces.

In Victoria, prominent artist Vicki Couzens and Baraparapa Elder Aunty Esther led the making of a possum skin cloak. The cloak is now available to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients undergoing cancer treatment at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The use of a possum skin cloak is of cultural significance to communities throughout Victoria.

In Queensland, Stradbroke Island Aboriginal weaver Sonja Carmichael facilitated a weaving workshop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander breast cancer survivors. The final art installation will be framed and gifted to the oncology ward of the local hospital most frequently used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Our online network now has a private group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples affected by breast cancer.

These projects are part of BCNA’s ongoing commitment to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Watch a video of the making of the possum skin cloak by visiting our YouTube channel.

Participants with the cloak

The completed possum skin cloak

Issue 80
Spring 2017