Red Dust Healing & Lateral Love Australia Amalgamate


At a meeting held in Adelaide on Tuesday 23rd April 2013, Tom Powell, Nicola Butler and Brian Butler confirmed the amalgamation of Red Dust Healing and Lateral Love Australia.

This union will see the amazing work of Red Dust Healing provide the desperately needed solution to many of the issues facing humanity in regard to Lateral Violence and the lack of Cultural Safety we see all around us in the here and now.

The program offered by Red Dust Healing is the only program I have seen that has ever left me completely lost for words and literally sobbing because I could see genuine hope and the real possibility of a future for humanity that can and will be healed” said Nicola.

“Lateral Love and Red Dust Healing compliment one another, we are about the same thing – Lateral Love, it makes sense that we would come together and share in this phenomenal journey together” said Tom.

“From the moment I first experienced the Red Dust Healing program I knew it was the way forward. We are honoured to have Tom and Randal join us in this movement creating unity through Lateral Love and Spirit of Care for all Humankind” said Brian.

Tom Powell, Brian Butler & Nicola Butler in Adelaide on Tuesday

Tom Powell, Brian Butler & Nicola Butler in Adelaide on Tuesday

Red Dust Healing


“Red Dust Healing for me begins with my earliest memory of my dad, Noel Powell Snr. I must have been about four and I remember him driving home on the grader to a caravan on the side of a road out near Ivanhoe and the red dust swirling behind him. He swallowed a lot of Red Dust in his time.” – Tom Powell Founding Director.

Originally designed by Tom and further developed in partnership with Randal Ross with whom he first met in October 1996 while working for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Taree NSW. Red Dust Healing is a specific cultural healing program that has been delivered to groups in both New South Wales and Queensland. To date over 1,700 people have been through the program plus 2,100 through information sessions and 1 day workshops. Numbers continue to rise rapidly as more and more people hear about the red dust healing.

TOM POWELL: A proud Warramunga Man from within the Wiradjuri Nation. Tom was born and bred in a little town called Narromine in the Central West of NSW.  Tom finished school after year 10 and worked with his father in the family business of earthmoving and road construction. Tom’s father established this business in 1973. A mean feat for an Aboriginal man given the times. Tom and his brothers worked with him until his death in 1985. After his father’s passing Tom continued in the business purchasing his own grader in 1987. In 1994 Tom enrolled in a community welfare course at night at Dubbo TAFE. Tom feels he has had a fortunate upbringing and has always wanted to help his people especially the Aboriginal young people. Tom Spent 14yrs with the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice as a Aboriginal Programs Officer both in Taree and Coffs Harbour on the mid north coast of NSW. After leaving the Department Tom has been busy facilitating Red Dust Healing.

RANDAL ROSS: Has three traditional descendant backgrounds, his Aboriginality is the Townsville clan Bindol and Juru from the Burdekin region and Kunjun connection in Lockhart River, his Torres Strait Island family is from Erub (Darnley Island) and is a Kananka – Australian South Sea Islander with his connections in the communities from Ayr and Bowen. Randal has had a strong background working with government at local, state and federal levels in both Queensland and New South Wales. Much of his work has been related working with Indigenous youth and families in both states. Randal’s future aim is to develop programs about restoring Indigenous families particularly around men. Many of our Indigenous families are being headed by our strong Indigenous Women and Randal’s vision is to restore a vital cultural connection within the family by working with men.

Randal Ross – “Now is the time to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children’s to their fathers”


RED DUST HEALING – MOTO: When the dust is settled on our lives, all we get to keep and take with us is our dignity, our integrity and the love and respect we shared with people Red Dust Healing is founded on a cultural belief that we are one people, one mob who do not own but belong to this land.

RED DUST HEALING – PHILOSOPHY: If we do not know who we are and where we come from, then how do we know where we are going? Healing to us is a spiritual understanding of self, identity, love, belonging, family, security, hurt, heartache, good times and laughter. But mostly Healing is a grasp for hope and acceptance based on love and respect, of understanding of ourselves, our supports and being able to tell “our” stories.

RED DUST HEALING – BACKGROUND: Red Dust Healing is written from an Indigenous perspective for Indigenous Men and their families. The program is targeted at the heart and not the head, The program facilitates the understanding of “Rejection” and “Grief and Loss” being the foundation of all hurt. Participants are encouraged to examine their own personal hurt and allows them to heal from within addressing family and personal relationships and what may have been life long patterns of violence, abuse and neglect. Though written from indigenous perspectives Red Dust Healing also targets non indigenous people. We have run mixed groups. Rejection knows no boundaries its the same for young and old, its the same for male and female, its the same for black and white – IT JUST HURTS.

The program places the participant both in the position of being hurt (victim) and then as the one doing the hurting (perpetrator). The program identifies the emotions felt as the victim and then the hurt caused as the perpetrator. Participants are asked to examine the similarities and effects this may have had on their lives while growing up and question whether they are repeating the same tactics that may have hurt them.

An example of this is the program outlines and examines the perspectives of two different laws: LORE is portrayed as our dignity our integrity our power and our freedom. Participants are shown that if you maintain the LORE then it makes the LAW redundant.

LAW versus LORE


Red Dust Healing targets a multifaceted approach covering four main areas:

  • Healing
  • Pro-Social Modelling
  • Professional Development
  • Cultural Awareness

Red Dust Healing addresses significant key areas  such as: Identity, family roles and structure, relationships, Elders, Men’s business, Indigenous history and the impacts of colonialism, drug and alcohol issues, family violence, grievance and loss, stress and mental health issues, anger management, education and employment housing issues, meetings and community contribution and governance.

Red Dust Healing is a group program for Aboriginal and Islander (including the Torres Strait) men and women that examines the intergenerational effects of colonisation on the mental, physical and spiritual well being of Indigenous families and encourages individuals to confront and deal with the problems, hurt and anger in their lives.


The program will be delivered to groups two times per group. The first time is for participants to heal and deal with their own issues first. The second time is to give them the skills to pass on the information and tools learnt to family members and community. The program will be delivered by 2 trainers to a group of 10–12 participants over a 3–4 day period. Daily time envisaged would be between 9.30am and 3.30 pm with lunch, morning tea is provided. The second training would be completed within a 4 to 6 week period after the initial training block. The Buddies/Mentors can support and encourage participants to complete case-plan goals (depending on program delivery model). This gives participants the opportunity to follow through with case-plans and with family or other relevant service providers in between the two training blocks.

*If arranged an information session can be delivered on the first day prior to program commencement for community/government organizations and other relevant people.


– Understanding of the impact of Rejection and Grief and Loss

– Understanding the impacts of colonialism and oppression and then learning tools to overcome those impacts.

– Better understanding of self and allow participants to address the hurt within their lives.

– Improved self esteem.

– Identifying the linking of emotions and feelings with behaviours and actions.

– Indigenous Men will have an understanding of identity and learn to self evaluate matters that impact on their own personal lives.

– Development of future role models and fathers.

– Restored broken relationships.

– Realization and knowledge that support is available through networks and services to assist participants and families.

– Families are linked to service providers.

– Strengthening current partnerships.

– Increasing capacity of Aboriginal men to contribute, plan, implement and evaluate a variety of strategies, projects and programs in their community.

– Improve relationships between fathers and sons.

– Develop and enhance support networks for Indigenous men.

– Assist to mend family relationships.

– Feed back forms and interviews from participants.

– Completed case-plans and links to agencies and support networks.

– Participation levels throughout the program, maintained by attendance sheets.

– Feedback from local organizations and family members.

– Participants involved in co-facilitating future training.

– Formation of a partnership committee to implement and guide the project.

– Black tracking – retracing your steps, self evaluation process.


Over 5500 people have now officially completed different stages of the program with some outstanding results. Some interviews conducted with participants have been conducted for visual feedback. The main reason why this program has had success is that it is targeted at the heart and not the head. The program allows for numeracy and literacy issues, it caters for all Aboriginal and Islander (including the Torres Strait) men and women young and old, Cultural Awareness modules for non-Aboriginal people. The program has also been run with a mixed group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. The program creates an environment that allows for confidentiality to be kept and participants feel free to express their emotions.

Thanks for rolling with the Red Dust! Spread Out and Stick Together.

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