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Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place

Johnston, Fay Helena, Vickery, A. and Bowman, David (2007). Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place. EcoHealth,4(4):489-499.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 22 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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IRMA ID 79264104xPUB31
Title Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place
Author Johnston, Fay Helena
Vickery, A.
Bowman, David
Journal Name EcoHealth
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 4
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1612-9210   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-37349075360
Start Page 489
End Page 499
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication US
Publisher Springer Publishing Company
Field of Research 0707 - Veterinary Sciences
1117 - Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The spread of industrial civilizations has been particularly traumatic for the last remaining hunter-gatherer societies. Manifestations of this include expatriation from ancestral lands, sickness, poverty, and environmental degradation. Northern Australia has been no exception despite remaining a stronghold of Aboriginal cultures and still containing vast areas of relatively intact landscapes. Most Aboriginal people reside in remote settlements where they remain on the negative extreme of basic indicators such as life expectancy and educational attainment. In addition, biodiversity declines are being documented from loss of Aboriginal fire management and invasion by feral species. There has been little consideration of potential health, social, economic, or environmental benefits of routinely hunting, gathering or being on their land. This reflects a Western philosophical position that segregates land management and health policy, a view at odds with Aboriginal peoples’ testimony of the indivisibility of people and land. Here we report perspectives from Arnhemland gathered through observation and unstructured and semistructured interviews. Themes that emerged included the high level of detailed, complex knowledge of their traditionally owned lands, the perceived urgency about passing this on to younger people, and the need that both land and people have for each other for the well-being of both. Primary motivations for returning to traditional lands were gathering food, escaping from stresses, and educating young people. The many barriers included no transport, family problems, frequent funerals, and other cultural or family obligations. This work forms part of a larger transdisciplinary research program that aims to inform policy about sustainable futures in northern Australia.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-007-0142-0   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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