Dr Marion Kickett, from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute’s Aboriginal Health and Education Research Unit, is one of the first researchers to use traditional Aboriginal methodologies to conduct such a study.
Dr Kickett said she met with Aboriginal Elders and successful Aboriginal people who had been working or studying for 10 or more years to determine what their definition of resilience was and how they became resilient.
The notion of resilience interested her because it seemed Aboriginal people who could make peace with the past had a better chance at success in life. She wanted to understand the path to resilience in order to help others find a way forward.
“I used the processes of Yarning and Lifelines to talk to them about their stories which were intensely personal and emotional, to find out what motivates them to keep going and live successfully across two cultures,” Dr Kickett said.
Dr Kickett identified a number of common themes that emerged from the life stories of the people interviewed, which she said influenced how resilient the person was.
“The things that were most important to people were family identity and culture, as well as individual spirituality and a sense of belonging,” she said.
“It soon became clear that the people who were the most resilient and able to move on were those who had addressed these issues.”
Dr Kickett presented her findings to various organisations and interest quickly grew as health professionals realised how valuable the information was for the physical and mental health of Aboriginal people.
“It’s a positive outcome that those working in Aboriginal health can use in their programs to help Aboriginal people realise that by dealing with their past, forgiving and letting go they can move forward with their lives,” she said.
Dr Kickett is the first Aboriginal student to receive an Indigenous scholarship from Healthway WA for successfully completing a PhD.
Due to the interest created from her PhD, Dr Kickett has decided to write a book to share the findings with a broader audience.
Dr Marion Kickett, Aboriginal Health and Education Research Unit,
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 1751, Email: email@example.com