See Shaun’s story in his TEDx talk Freedom
Shaun also does Welcome to Country, Didgeridoo and storytelling.
These three paintings depict the re-creation of our world as a unified whole, they were painted by Shaun Nannup and guide our work.
Shaun has been facilitating workshops since 2010. Often when we run workshops, Shaun will draw this image, it was only later that we realised, this was a picture of Uncle Thomas. Uncle Thomas is one of Shaun Nannup’s ancestor. He used to come and tell stories to Shaun’s family. Uncle Thomas represents the past, the strong and proud leader and that each and every person in that workshop has the ability to become a proud strong leader, whether that is simply within themselves, their family or the wider community. As Uncle Thomas appears on a whiteboard, paper or cloth you can feel the energy of the workshop change. People who were slumped, or in despair suddenly sit a little straighter, they see possibilities. Shaun and I give thanks for Uncle Thomas.
Shaun Nannup is a human being, an Indigenous man and a father. His purpose in life is to connect people through his stories. If you have sat through a ‘welcome to country’ by Shaun you will know how connected he is. He is connected to the ancestors. He knows their stories. He knows what must be done. He is a leader of reconciliation.
However, he also understands the struggle. As a teenager, sitting on country he just got angrier and angrier, and he didn’t understand why. He could not feel the connection to Earth, he had something blocking his energy connection. This impacted on many aspects of his life. He, like most Indigenous people was carrying Trans-generational trauma. The impact of years of racism. Nearly every Aboriginal person carries this trauma, although many deal with it by making a difference in their community, but you only need to see the reaction when racism occurs to know the pain that is carried. It is time to heal that pain, so that the next generation will not carry this any longer.
Trans generational trauma is passed down the generations whenever there is an event, be it war, abuse, genocide, stolen generation that is not healed. This trauma stops or limits connections, not only to Earth but to each other. By healing this trauma, he could connect to himself and therefore to the land. He has been connected with WISDOM in Your Life since 2004. We teach people the process to heal the trauma, talking about it does not heal it, this only acknowledges the trauma, which is the first step. There are three steps to healing trauma and the process is ongoing.
WISDOM in Your Life is committed to working with Aboriginal individuals, families and communities to facilitate healing. The pain and suffering must stop for us to move forward as a country.
Racism in Australia.
Our team deals with racism on a daily basis. Whether it is blatant, subtle or hidden, it still pervades our society. Whether people overcompensate and patronise Aboriginal people, or Aboriginal people have to prove that they are better or people believe they get ‘too much’, there is still an ‘us and them’ attitude. This belief is harming all of us and needs to be challenged. The universal truth is that we are all human beings and are all of equal value.
A few examples of racism an Aboriginal family that rings for a tradesman to install a patio at their home, who upon answering the door is immediately told. “I’ve got the wrong place!”. This had the underlying belief that no Aboriginal family would own their own home. We once took a group of young Aboriginal men from the country to a food hall, and upon entering nearly every person sitting at a table turned and looked and grabbed hold of their handbags. I found this very confronting. One young man was nearly crying when he asked me “Why do they hate me so much? I have never done anything wrong.” Another said “It makes me feel like grabbing their bags! but Mum has told me that would prove their beliefs right” The underlying belief that all young Aboriginal men will steal your handbag, they are bad.
I was asked in a workshop whether domestic violence and/or abuse occurs in white families. “Of course domestic violence occurs in the white community” but it is perceived as a ‘black problem’ by Aboriginal people, and they are ashamed. An Aboriginal man told the story of some family members that were ‘too black’ to come inside the house. When pressed, he said it meant nothing, it’s just a saying. When asked what message is this sending to his son he suddenly saw that this common expression is harmful because it says that there is something wrong with being black.
The dominant underlying belief in our society is that Black is less than White.