Social Implications Of The Aboriginal Stolen Generations

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It has been demonstrated by numerous public health studies that psychosocial stress is an important factor in the development of chronic disease. Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders bear a higher burden of this stress due to both ongoing and historic racism. One important example of this racism is the Stolen Generations, where more than 100,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their parents in accordance with government policy at the time. This practice began in the 1800s and persisted well into the 1960s.Ways through which health professionals can move towards closing the gap in the context of the intergenerational trauma inflicted by past government policy will also be discussed.

Social Determinants of Health
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Evidence presented to The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families detailed widespread accounts of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Children were also subjected to indoctrination that demonised Aboriginality and the families of the children who were taken away, as well as exploitation and harsh living conditions. The resulting trauma and pain of these events created significant psychosocial stress, and constituted a major insult on the emotional, spiritual and cultural development of the children affected. In addition to this is the importance of family support to improving health outcomes. A study investigating health and wellbeing among Aboriginal Australians in Victoria found that Aboriginal Victorians were significantly less able to get help from family. One explanation put forward for this is that Aboriginal people in Victoria bore the highest burden of child removal in Australia. Another major way in which child removal policies undermined the wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples was the deliberate effort to ensure that children who were removed lost all tie with their land, enacted through the practice of taking children to missions or institutions far away from where their families lived. The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage 2014 report states that Aboriginal and …show more content…
The poverty and inequality that they experience is a contemporary reflection of their historical treatment as peoples. The inequality in health status that they continue to experience can be linked to systemic discrimination”. This systemic discrimination is yet to be overcome, and equality in health and wellbeing can only be achieved once this occurs. A substantial part of the problem of systemic discrimination, particularly in the healthcare system, is a failure to come to terms with the impact of forcible removal on the current health status of the Indigenous population.5,16 Discussions around this impact have emphasised the importance of self determination of Aborginal and Toores strait islander people in securing better health and wellbeing. The ‘Bringing them Home’ report, the The Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey and other reviews of the state of Indigenous health in Australia have recommended that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community based and controlled organisations be supported in leading the journey of healing from the injustices of the past.2,3,7,17 In addition to this is the change in focus of mainstream health provision from diagnosis and treatment based care to a holistic model of patient wellbeing.5,16 This transition is already underway,5 and will enable more meaningful

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