The Status Of Indigenous Health In Contemporary Australia

1412 words - 6 pages

The gap in health status between Australia’s first nation people and non-indigenous Australians is a result of numerous pivotal moments in Australia’s somewhat recent history. European colonization is the foremost cause for most, if not all of the socio-economic challenges that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be confronted with in contemporary society. Understanding that the historical events, political policies and acts shaped our society into what it is today is key in trying to address the inequalities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health status. The Cultural and social challenges that modern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be confronted with due to the nature of the discrimination is prevalent in modern society and can be outlined in the ‘social detriments of health’ model. History plays a key role in modeling the backbone of modern society.

Life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people prior to European colonization was rich in essence of environmental sustainability, cultural balance, and spirituality and subsequently their overall health status was admirable. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hunter-gatherer lifestyle was sustainable and effective. For the most part, acquiring the nutrients they needed to survive was met from this lifestyle. Indigenous people had immense knowledge for what the land had to offer and how it could benefit their communities, while still maintaining a sustainable balance with Mother Nature. (Saggers, S., & Gray, D. (1991). Their spiritual connection with the land in which they occupied was in my opinion, one of the main reasons for the success of their community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had respect for that which kept them alive, unlike their European counterparts whom were brought up with an entirely different set of standards and beliefs.(Saggers, S., & Gray, D. (1991). Cultural hierarchy kept Indigenous Australians close-knit communities in balance. Knowledge of Natural remedies and medicines from the land were past down from generation to generation. Many years of trial and error had gone into their sacred practices, which in essence kept the Indigenous community alive.

The hunter gather life style of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ensured variety in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples diet, which according to Dunn (1968) pg35) prevented malnutrition. There is substantial evidence that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lifestyle prior to European colonization was a physically and socially more abundant and sustainable lifestyle. During European colonization, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were denied the right to their hunter gather and nomadic lifestyle. (Diamond, J. (1998). ) Europeans colonized and segregated the land. The land took a toll and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were unable to access food as well as plants...

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