State of Health of Australian Aborigenes Essay

1896 Words 8 Pages
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (International Health Conference, 1948) When considering this definition, which has remained unamended since 1948, it is clear that there is a vast interplay of factors that have led to the poor state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Such factors can include employment, income, education, stress, working and living conditions, geography and limited autonomy amongst many more which can be collectively considered the “social determinants of health” (Wilkinson & Marmot, 2003). To consider all of these factors within the cultural and historical context of Aboriginal …show more content…
The vast differences in climate, flora and fauna across regions of Australia contributed to the separation of already disparate cultural and tribal groups, with over 400 distinct groups of Aboriginals people known, each with their own language and culture (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994). Indigenous people adapted to significant climate changes across this pre-Colonial period. However, records show that the most significant impact on vegetation was European settlement (Dodson, 2001). The impact of such a dramatic environmental change of a time scale of hundreds, rather than thousands of years, on a culture deeply connected to the land cannot be underestimated. In the period immediately preceding European contact, population distribution of Indigenous Australians was comparable to modern day Australia with costal temperature regions the most heavily populated, in particular the area of Murray River valley. The location of these sites of population density is particularly important when considering the sites of initial arrival and colonisation of Europeans.
Despite the history of Indigenous Australians spanning tens of thousands of years by far the most dramatic changes have occurred in the in the relatively miniscule period since European colonisation. Interactions between Indigenous’ peoples and settlers were mixed following the

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