In every culture the death of a loved one has a huge emotional effect on individuals and communities. The act of saying farewell varies according to custom and lore.
In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are closely connected to the land of which they have been custodians for thousands of years. After living and caring for the land on which they are born, it is to the land where they return at the end of life.
While funeral ceremonies and practices vary throughout Australia, it is culturally important for those left behind to see their loved ones returned to the land of their birth … returned to Country.
A ceremony may see mourners painting themselves and conducting a series of rituals, song, and dance to ensure the spirit returns to the place of birth to be reborn. It is vitally important for First Nations people to attend a funeral, which often is difficult due to a range of circumstances including distance and cost.
Being unable to attend leads to the compounding presence of unresolved grief, which affects not only individuals but family and the wider community. In times of grief, everyone needs support.
The support the Wayne Weaver Foundation brings to the community is designed to soften any unresolved grief and, in the process, reduce the chance of mental health issues, crime, and recidivism.