Through a series of strong and sometimes poignant interviews with Aboriginal elders from around Australia, Culture is Life (led by Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, elder from the NSW South Coast) is bringing to light the high suicide rate among Indigenous Australian youth. The report, to be released in January 2014, is titled simply, Elders’ Report.

According to Culture is Life, Indigenous youth suicide in the Northern Territory is 10 times higher than for non-Indigenous youth. And suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of death for Aboriginal men in the NT after cardiovascular disease.

More, in the Kimberley of Western Australia, there has been an average of one attempted suicide every week since the start of 2012.

Uncle Max is certain about the reason – that Indigenous youth are no longer practicing their culture and that they have disconnected from their homelands. “The lack of respect to the Elders and to the Mother (earth) are contributing factors,” Uncle Max said.

“Strengthening Indigenous Youth back to the land and culture gives them a sense of connectedness to self, land and spirit.

“Natural healing comes from the land, it is pure and heals all people – your mind your body and spirit. It’s not a poison from a bottle or packet from a chemist.

“Healing through the land, the Mother, heals all peoples. This is the means by which true reconciliation is achieved. Through the Mother Earth.”

Given that connection is oftentimes seen through art, we will feature an interview with Aboriginal Elder and acclaimed artist, Banduk Marika (North East Arnhem Land) from the Elders’ Report in the next few days.

In the meantime, please visit the Culture is Life site. You can lend your support to the campaign to end Indigenous self harm at Be Part of Healing.

For further information please contact Peter McConchie at


Artist: Banduk Marika

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