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Historical Factors And S Do H Essay

1704 words - 7 pages

The social disadvantage and poor health of Indigenous Australians is well documented. The barriers to the well-being of Indigenous Australians have deep-seated associations to historical factors and social disadvantage. Health is a reflection of the socio-economic conditions of an individual and their community known as the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) (Marmot, 2010, p. 3). The SDoH are acknowledged as perpetuating social disadvantage and are directly linked to the health inequalities experienced by Indigenous Australians (Baum, Bentley & Anderson, 2004, p.23; Reilly et al., 2011). The invasion by the British in 1788 marked the beginnings of more than 200 years of Indigenous ...view middle of the document...

, 2009, pp. 2, 6). An important cultural aspect is 'the Dreamings' which inform their history, culture, identity and codes of 'behaviour and social relations' (Broome, 2002, p. 19). 'The Dreamings' made the law passed on to the ancestors. Law is the stories and songs, the ceremonies and naming of everything, it is the rules by which Indigenous Australians live, it is their spiritual connection and responsibility to their country and Kin (Harvey in Crowden, 2013, p.117). These traditional aspects, are significantly correlated with spirituality "and are important determinants of health" (Hampton., & Toombs, 2013b, p. 78; Poroch et al., 2009, p. 11).
Prior to the British invasion in 1788, Indigenous Australians were fit and healthy. A semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle provided a healthy diet, exercise and traditional medicines. There was a sense of identity through the control of their lives including cultural practices, social interactions, ethics and law, economy and obligations to the land. These factors contributed to good health and well-being (Broome, 2002, p. 30; MacRae et al., 2013, p.5-6). According to Indigenous Australian's worldviews, health and law are linked and cannot be separated, when both are well the energy flow keeps them strong (Atkinson, 2002, p. 45-46).
Following colonisation Aboriginal populations were ravaged with infectious disease brought by the Europeans. Smallpox, tuberculosis, measles, influenza, syphilis and leprosy were major causes of death and depopulation of Aboriginal peoples (Hampton & Toombs, 2013b, p.74), a 75% reduction in 'the first generation', according to O'Casey in Hampton & Toombs (2013a, p.39). British declaration of 'terra nullius', ‘land of no-one’ resulted in Indigenous Australians being dispossed and displaced from their traditional lands which were granted to, or taken and destroyed by settlers for farming and grazing (Baum, Bently, Anderson, 2004, p. XI). This led to decades of colonial conflict and racial tension, poisonings, masacres and outright genocide of Indigenous Australians (Eckermann et al., 2006, p.12-13; Hampton & Toombs, 2013a, p.39; MacRae et al., 2013, p. 6). Displaced from their country they were robbed of their source of traditional foods, medicines, their places of cultural and spiritual practices. These factors impacted Indigenous economic, social and cultural structures impeding their capacity to uphold traditional law and carry out obligations to their Kin, community and land. Indigenous Australians experience of colonialism is one of perpetual cycle of dispossession, cultural suppression, marginalisation, racism, demorilisation and loss of human rights. All contributors to Indigenous disadvantage. (Eckermann et al., 2006, p.16-20; Hampton & Toombs, 2013a, pp.31-33; Hampton & Toombs, 2013b, pp. 74-76). "This loss of autonomy undermined social vitality, which, in turn, affected the capacity to meet challenges, including health challenges; a cycle of dispossession,...

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