In this paper, I introduce the term ‘cultural wounding’ as central to an analysis of ethnicity and ethnic identities that have experienced trauma through inter-ethnic conflict. Cultural wounding speaks to rupture and assault in a physical, emotional, spiritual and ideological sense. By establishing the definitional character of cultural wounding, I present a discussion of the ‘wounds’ that result from the deliberate targeting of ethnic groups in campaigns of violence and conflict. I focus the attention here on instances of wounding and healing within historical and contemporary contexts of Indigenous Australia. The primary aim here is to propose a framework for understanding wounding, healing and transformation as experienced by ethnic groups that undergo change brought about by conflict. Wounding, healing and transformation are steps in the journey to not only surviving but also thriving along ethnic lines in the aftermath or amidst moments of conflict and challenge. Drawing on instances of cultural wounding and the healing project amongst Indigenous groups in Australia, I propose a discourse that articulates what happens when the wounded survive, examining the link between wounding and healing, action and projection.
- action and projection
- Cultural wounding
- healing and ethnic reclamation
- inter-ethnic conflict