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Developing an Exploratory Framework Linking Australian Aboriginal Peoples' Connection to Country and Concepts of Wellbeing

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Kingsley, Jonathan; Townsend, Mardie; Henderson-Wilson, Claire; Bolam, Bruce
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal Number: 10.2
  • Publisher: Molecular Diversity Preservation International
  • Published Location: Basel, Switzerland
  • ISBN: 1661-7827
  • Country: Australia

Aboriginal people across Australia suffer significant health inequalities compared with the non-Indigenous population. Evidence indicates that inroads can be made to reduce these inequalities by better understanding social and cultural determinants of health, applying holistic notions of health and developing less rigid definitions of wellbeing.

 

The following article draws on qualitative research on Victorian Aboriginal peoples' relationship to their traditional land (known as Country) and its link to wellbeing, in an attempt to tackle this. Concepts of wellbeing, Country and nature have also been reviewed to gain an understanding of this relationship. An exploratory framework has been developed to understand this phenomenon focusing on positive (e.g., ancestry and partnerships) and negative (e.g., destruction of Country and racism) factors contributing to Aboriginal peoples' health. The outcome is an explanation of how Country is a fundamental component of Aboriginal Victorian peoples' wellbeing and the framework articulates the forces that impact positively and negatively on this duality. This review is critical to improving not only Aboriginal peoples' health but also the capacity of all humanity to deal with environmental issues like disconnection from nature and urbanisation.

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