• Our Knowledge, Our Wisdom – Our Promise

    For our Grandchildren’s Grandchildren

    Sydney 26-29 November, 2018

    Register Now


Gawuwi gamarada Healing Our Spirit Worldwidegu
Ngalya nangari nura Cadigalmirung
(Calling our friends to come, to be at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. We meet on the country of the Cadigal.)

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering in Sydney in 2018 brings together Indigenous peoples from around the world to gather and celebrate the power of our knowledge and our wisdom, to share our stories with pride and purpose and to harness the spirit within and around us.

The International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide has invited The Healing Foundation and The University of Sydney to join together to bring The Eighth Gathering to Sydney, Australia – a significant epicentre of Indigenous culture, community and activism.

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering will share the experiences, resilience and challenges confronting Indigenous peoples across the many paths of life and across many parts of the mother earth. The Gathering will recognise and strengthen our resilience. It will empower all of us, offering new and old teachings to our lives and futures.

Thousands of generations of Indigenous peoples have gathered, benefited from and shared knowledge that has sustained our culture and identity, our health and wellbeing, our relationships to each other, and our land and our spirit. Wisdom is created in these timeless relationships.

Hundreds of years of colonialism have exploited Indigenous knowledges, lands and people. It has disrupted knowledge gathering, sharing and remembering. It has unsettled our ability to nurture wisdom and spirit. In challenging times Indigenous peoples have relied upon and sought to renew the power of this knowledge and wisdom to sustain our identity, culture, families and communities.

Healing our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering is our opportunity to share knowledge, wisdom, learning and experiences that foster relationships, understandings and new opportunities. This Gathering will explore the connections necessary to support individuals and communities, to promote their agency, and to look forward to sustainable, proud and confident Indigenous futures.

Our Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge has sustained our relationship with land, air, water and sea, with each other, with our culture and our spirit. Protecting and sharing our knowledges across generations is a gift to be treasured, a treasure that will support us and enrich us. We must cherish and protect it so that our grandchildren’s grandchildren can benefit from the power and love it provides.

Our Wisdom

Indigenous peoples’ journeys have been supported by the wisdom of our generations that have come before us. They have lived the experiences and shared the lessons, our guides have applied the collective memories of our peoples and found the good judgement that has helped steward us through good times and bad. Finding wisdom, learning from our experiences, enriching our judgement and steeling our resolve is integral to protecting our legacy for future Indigenous generations.

Our Promise

We stand together at The Eighth Gathering, and we promise to our great, great grandchildren that we will not leave them alone, that we will cherish and protect our knowledges, that we will learn from the generations of our people that have brought us to this point in our journey, that we will enrich our judgement and resolve to meet the challenge and joys of this time and we will leave for our children and their grandchildren a powerful, vibrant and strong cloak and blanket warmed by love and our spirit.

For our Grandchildren’s Grandchildren

Within another generation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia will be well over a million people. This Gathering offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the opportunity to pick up our promise, to protect and cherish our knowledge and to wisely steward the future of our great, great, great grandchildren.

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering is proudly hosted by

The University of Sydney

The University of Sydney was founded in 1850 on the principle of providing people from all backgrounds with the opportunity to realise their potential through education. Our community includes more than 60,000 students, 6400 academic staff and 320,000 alumni. Our graduates are among the world’s most sought-after employees – we are ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018.

Fifty years ago, Australia’s first Aboriginal man to graduate, Charles Perkins, received his degree in the University’s Great Hall. Six years ago, the University committed to Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu (Thinking path – to make tomorrow), a radical and highly innovative program of reform in higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is based on Aboriginal rights, capability and opportunity. The University has introduced groundbreaking initiatives around cultural competence, ethical investment, service learning in Aboriginal communities and community engagement and student support.

Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu outlines the University’s commitment to inclusivity, creating higher education and leadership opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and for valuing Indigenous cultures.

The Healing Foundation

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. Our work helps people create change in their lives, their families and their communities for a better future.

Until The Healing Foundation was set up seven years ago, there wasn’t a focus on trauma and healing in Australia. We support people to better understand their trauma and we work with communities to lead their own healing solutions.

Our work crosses many different platforms. We support locally-run projects, training and education, research and commemorative events. Since we were established in 2009 we have:

  • funded almost 170 community based healing projects that have assisted more than 45,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their healing journeys
  • provided nearly 500 organisations with grants for local commemorative events
  • and established an impressive body of evidence with over 20 evaluations and publications.

Through our work we are seeing positive results in many areas – for Stolen Generations members, men, women, young people and families. They show that remarkable things can be achieved when you work in partnership with communities.

For example:

  • nearly 80% said they now have an increased sense of belonging and connection to culture
  • in the community of Wurrumiyanga where the ‘Our Men Our Healing’ program has been running the longest, the number of men registered with the Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services has dropped by 50%—with levels of family and domestic violence also dropping.
  • more than 70% of Stolen Generations members that have participated in our projects have reported an improved ability to care for their loss and grief

The opportunity to partner with The University of Sydney to co-host Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering in Australia and also to work with the International Indigenous Council to maintain and build on the legacy of the Healing Our Spirt Worldwide movement is an honour and responsibility that we do not take lightly.

In Australia, healing is a compelling concept in all our communities whether it’s a remote setting or an urban environment. Privileging our people’s knowledge about what can restore harmony to their lives and create the environment for healing is at the core of The Healing Foundation’s work and Healing Our Spirit Worldwide comes to Australia at a time when our nation is considering the truth of its colonial history. We are looking forward to welcoming First Nations people from all over the globe to Sydney in November 2018.

The International Indigenous Council

The IIC is the governance body that provides support, guidance and advice to the Hosts of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering.

The IIC members are:

Vision Keeper Maggie Hodgson Canada
Chair Rod Jeffries Canada
Secretariat Allan Benson Canada
Directors Barry Bublitz Aotearoa New Zealand
JoAnn Kauffman USA
Shane Houston Australia


The Global Vision of the IIC is to ensure the voice of Indigenous peoples worldwide have the opportunity to convene every four years to share their stories of wellness and endurance. This allows us to celebrate our totality within an ever changing environment.

The IIC join the hosts of The Eighth Gathering and invite our Indigenous communities worldwide to come and listen, share and enjoy the stories and experiences of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the country of the Cadigal.


Organising Committee

The co-hosts have formed an Organising Committee who are responsible for all aspects of the Eighth Gathering.

The Organising Committee members are:


 Richard Weston – Co Chair

Chief Executive Officer

The Healing Foundation Australia

Professor Juanita Sherwood – Co Chair

Associate Dean Indigenous , School of Medicine

University of Sydney

Barry Bublitz


HOSW International Indigenous Committee

 Tania Rhodes-Taylor

Vice Principal, External Relations

University of Sydney

Stephen Phillips

Vice Principal, Operations

University of Sydney

Peter Minter

Senior Lecturer, Department of English

University of Sydney

Dr. Tom Calma, AO

Patron and Chair

Poche Indigenous Health Network

 Kimberley dela Cruz Odom

Manager, Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships

University of Sydney

 Douglas Josif

Director, Operations Reform DVC -ISS

University of Sydney

 Kim Gates

Senior Project Officer

Strategic Management DVC – ISS

University of Sydney




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