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Running head: INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN HEALTHFactors Influencing the Current Health Status Of The Indigenous Australian PopulationName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN HEALTHAustralia since from its establishment in the year of 1901 has seen a largeimmigration of the Indigenous people (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 51). Theindigenous people residing in Australia received biased attitude from the Australian original.For example, the Torres Strait Islander males were brutally provoked to act as the first line ofdefence during the Second World War but despite their heroic efforts they were not allowedto hold any responsible position in the defence team (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp.53). Moreover, post second world war, “White Australian Policy” restricted the entry of thepeople beyond Anglo-Saxon ideals (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 53). Suchpolitical discrimination got cumulated with the culture and the socio-economic backgroundand the overall effect cast a huge negative impact on the health care domain too. The socio-economic statistics post Second World War further showed that aboriginal Australians havehighest rate of mortality, arrest, unemployment and poor infrastructure. In the field ofhealthcare, there is a wide gap in healthcare outcomes between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians where the later are advantaged than the earlier (Hampton, Ronald, &Maree, 2013, pp. 53). Over years, the Australian government has embarked on addressingthis issue to ensure equality in healthcare. The following essay will outline the varioushistorical, contemporary, race and racism-related factors, which influence the health andwell-being of the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islanders of Australia. It also highlightshow the indigenous perspectives on health cast a negative impact on the well-being of theindigenous people.Historical factors have contributed heavily on Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderPeople’s health and well-being. In the Goulburn-Murray region situated in the northernVictoria region of Australia, indigenous people due to complex historical and social problemsare always at an increased risk of health problems. They have a very high rate of occurrenceof diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic disease (Reilly et al., 2011, pp. 1 of 9). Since, 1788,
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN HEALTHAnglo–Saxon Australians dominated the Political power. Such one sided political dominanceaffected the employment status among the indigenous people and created a financial barrier,generating a health gap (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 50). As per the historicalrecords, Aborigines women were continuously subjected to restrictive or repressivelegislation and on contrary, Australians who belong to non-British heritage got elected inseveral sectors of government (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 50). Four youngAboriginal men protested (1994) against this discrimination on the lawn outside ParliamentHouse in Canberra (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 56). The Aboriginal Land RightsAct, legislated in1983 and amended in 2001, gave the NSW and local Aboriginal landcouncils the rights to claims the vacant lands, which are held under the Crown Lands Act1989 (NSW) (Cassidy, 2017, pp. 23). Since these people are deprived from their job, landbears a spiritual significance to these communities. Since these people are deprived from theirjob, land bears a spiritual significance to these communities. The land here defines the mentalhealth, physical health, cultural health and spiritual health and these different sectors ofhealth cumulated into well-being (Taylor & Guerin, 2010,pp. 90).The capturing of landcontributed to distress in social well-being and affect the mental health. Health is a complexvariable that depends on physical, mental and social well-being (Taylor & Guerin, 2010,pp.89). This distress further ignited when colonialists forcibly separated indigenous childrenfrom their parents as “stolen generations” (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 42). Thedistress leads to the generation of anxiety and mental health problems among the familymembers. This increased the trend of drug and alcohol consumption and this behaviourbecame their persistent characteristic among the indigenous people (Sajiv, 2013). The “stolengenerations” or the stolen children experienced emotional and/or behavioural problems asthey were deprived from parents love and care. They also became hyperactive due to theabuse they received from their drug addict and drunken parents (Sajiv, 2013). The upcoming
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN HEALTHgeneration, upon hearing the history and reviewing these series of brutal events, sufferedfrom negative psychological impacts. This psychological distress still impedes and cast asignificant effect on the mainstream heath and behaviour (Sajiv, 2013).The NSW Government, during the tenure of 1880s to 1960s, adopted special regimeof ‘protection’ for Aboriginal people. In this regime, the Aboriginal people lost their right offreedom, as the government became the sole dictator to control their livelihood, personalfinances along with child-rearing practices. This again led to the downfall of the health andmental peace of the aboriginal people (Cassidy, 2017, pp.27). It was only until 1967 that theyenfranchised as citizens but persistent racism has seen indigenous people who were adamantto agree to the conventional concept of health and well-being. In 1993, of the native titlereversed the concept of ‘terra nullius’, in Australia and according to this revision, “landbelonged to no one at the time of European invasion”. This is a kind of official recognitiongiven under the federal law of Australia coming under the traditional interests and rights ofthe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whose sole relation exist with water and land(Cassidy, 2017, pp.8).The interaction of these contemporary and historical factors influences health andwell-being of the indigenous Australians.The indigenous people nurture completely differentthoughts in health as compared to the non-indigenous people. According to them, health hasno relation with the physical state but shares a significant relationship with the social andemotional states. The health of indigenous people is thus directly related with land. Here landmeans ownership not a neatly decorated land. It is the land where they perform their culturalactivities and such cultural activities bring mental satisfaction. It can also be stated that healthis very much culturally determined (Taylor & Guerin, 2010,pp. 90-94).
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