Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety

Table of Contents

Pre-invasion health status of Australian Indigenous People.

Current health status of Australian Indigenous Peoples.

Assimilation Policy of 1961.


Australian Indigenous Men in Sport

Australian Indigenous Pregnant Women.

Australian Indigenous Children of Primary School Age.



Pre-Invasion Health Status of Australian Indigenous People

The term Indigenous people can be referred to like those individuals who are the first inhabitants of a place. Two major types of Indigenous people’s groups exist in Australia; they are Aboriginal people along with the Islanders of Torres Strait. Both of these groups have their distinct traditional culture, customs as well as their own distinct languages bases (Calma et al. 2017). It is stated that in regards to occupation and settlement of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carried on with a way of life that improved their physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual prosperity before the invasion by the British. Various reports are suggesting that the First People of Australia enjoyed fantastic wellbeing and health. They were independent economically and rehearsed a way of life centered upon balance and sustainability. In the opposite biomedical model medical care, Indigenous Australians depended on the utilization of traditional methods to achieve holistic health (Lovett 2017).

Current Health Status of Australian Indigenous Peoples

The health factor associated with those of the Aboriginal as well as the Islander people of Torres Strait are significantly poor in Australia and require critical as well as informed consideration at all levels. The median age in context to indigenous Australians was 23 in 2016 in comparison with non-indigenous Australians. Indigenous individuals have their understanding of wellbeing which differentiates from the western clinical model. Both these groups of people holistically comprehend health. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, health indicates the socio-emotional, aspect of the entire community based on social prosperity. Even though the life expectancy of Australian people is high and the health status is better in comparison to other nations, there is a huge gap in the health status of Indigenous Australians and Australians of other domains (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020).

Assimilation Policy of 1961

The Assimilation policy implies to all Aborigines as well as acts as a part-Aborigine for those who require accomplishing a similar way of living. They belong from different Australian domains and tend to live as in the form of an individual’s belonging from a private community of Australia. They tend to enjoy similar types of rights as well as benefits, acknowledging the aspect of having a similar type of traditions that get impacted by similar assurance as other Australian peoples. The Assimilation policy 1961 revolved around making equivalent open doors for the Indigenous Australians. As residents of the nation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were qualified for admittance to socio-political rights that expanded and improved the situation of the people in the community. The assimilation policy gets affected by the cruelty of Indigenous individuals. Going further these tend to include a separate form of education for kids even leading to the conduction of town curfews, liquor boycotts, and lower compensation (Lino 2017).


Racism stays as a solid determinant of prosperity and wellbeing among minority groups in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia battle with the impacts of Racism in clinical practice, which is an aftereffect of colonization. Racism affects the health of elderly Australians through injury using racially motivated attacks. These affect them physiologically and psychologically and let to the development of stress and negative emotions. They are also restricted from accessing healthcare services and resources (Phelan and Link, 2015).

Australian Indigenous Men in Sport

In the last 10 years, Australia has observed a considerable decrease in the attitude of racism. It is because there has been an impressive decrease in racist conduct. It was further observed that it is due to some extent to the advancement of solid accepted practices against transparently communicating racist views. On the other hand, there have been researches that showed that these accepted practices are not completely created in the different areas of Australian life. One such open forum where there is still the existence of racism is the area of sports. According to a survey done in two rural and two metropolitan areas of Victoria including 755 Aboriginal Victorians, it was found that racism was experienced by them in sports (47%) (Phillips and Osmond 2018). The problem of racism is very complex in the field of sports. It can include bigotry, discrimination, harassment, or attack by players to other different players; by observers to players; or behavior of racism among rival observer groups which overflow into interruptions as well as violence in the stands. It likewise incorporates the activities of sporting authorities and mentors, as well as media reporters. The issue of racism stays significantly inside Australian culture. It is further observed that it is concerning the amazing accomplishments of Aboriginal sporting achievement in ongoing decades; has not changed the terrible social disparity that impacts the incredible dominant part of Aboriginal lives today. The racism in sports is badly impacting the mental health of Indigenous people especially Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander men. The Indigenous Australian men in sports have been facing racism which has been impacting their mental health and develops an identity crisis. However, these results of racism faced by the Indigenous people do not reflect the intent of the Assimilation Policy of 1961. Psychological wellness impacts were not related to the kind of racial discriminatory experience, yet encountering racial discrimination in open settings was related to being over the edge for high or exceptionally high mental distress (Prehn 2019). The authors demonstrated that poor psychological wellbeing was related to the volume of experienced discrimination, as opposed to the kind of experience. Notwithstanding, the effect of encountering discrimination in certain settings was demonstrated to be specially connected with high or extremely high mental distress. Research conducted reveals that the individuals who experience trauma because of racism are bound to take part in reckless self-destructive practices, develop lifestyle disease as well as enter and stay in the criminal justice framework (Macedo et al. 2019).

Australian Indigenous Pregnant Women

There is a wide gap in the health status amid Indigenous Australians and Australians of other domains. The gap can also be seen among the health status of pregnant women in Australia. AAlhusen et al. (2016), in his study was instrumental in revealing that the aspect of encountering discrimination in regards to the context of the race was related to more terrible psychological well-being. There is an unbalanced weight associated with an adverse prenatal result in context to the Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander mothers. Not only had this had their infants contrasted with non-Indigenous mothers. Alongside it, it was also observed by the author that, infants, as well as expanded maternal mortality (13.8 versus 6.6 demises per 1, 00,000 females who conceived a baby in 2008–2012), preterm birth (140 versus 80 for every 1,000 births), low birth weight (118 versus 62 for every 1,000 births) and prenatal mortality (14 versus 9 for every 1,000 births) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ladies are likewise less likely to go to an antenatal visit in the first trimester contrasted with non-Indigenous ladies (53 versus 60%) or to go to at least 5 antenatal visits (86% versus 95%) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015). There is a prevalence of racism which impacts the physical health of pregnant Indigenous women and their unborn baby. Various studies have reported that high feelings of anxiety during pregnancy which are brought about by racial discrimination are related to preterm birth and lower birth weight of newborn children; it can also result in outcomes that may influence long term improvement of the baby. The exposure to racism by maternal and family members can legitimately influence youngster social as well as emotional improvement indicators, for example, behavior problems, hyperactivity, peer issues, hindrance/division issues, and negative emotionality (Bonello 2015). Australia's National Maternity Services Plan states that Australia is perhaps the most secure nation on the planet wherein to conceive an offspring or to be conceived. Notwithstanding, this is not the situation for Indigenous individuals. Australian Indigenous children are twice more liable to be conceived with low birth weight than non-Indigenous Australian infants or Indigenous children from comparative nations (Kildea et al. 2016). Out of many contributors to these poor outcomes racism is one major factor affecting the social determinants of wellbeing, including salary, work, education, and admittance to products, administrations, and medical services. These results of racism faced by the Indigenous pregnant women do not reflect the intent of the Assimilation Policy of 1961 (Rosenthal et al. 2018).

Australian Indigenous Children of Primary School Age

The Indigenous children of Australia experience a few of the most generous wellbeing disparities all around the world. In context to the previous section of this discussion, it was found by Priest et al. (2017), that all these results associated with racism are instrumental in bothering the Indigenous pregnant women. Not only this, they are facing certain hurdles in their respective lives which on going further do not tend to reflect the intent associated with the Assimilation Policy that was formulated in the year of 1961. Moreover, at this point of discussion, the aspect of Racism is highlighted. As observed by Shepherd et al. (2017), one of the prime issues associated with them is ‘Racism’ and is faced by Australian Indigenous children who are in their primary school age. These types of Racist activity are instrumental in impacting their respective neurological health. Alongside it, the concept of Racism is observed as in the form of a concept that can generate difficulty in developing identity. The impacts of racism among ethnic-racial minorities can be seen from youth and early adolescence. An examination was conducted focusing on 5–10-year old demonstrated an expanded danger for in general emotional as well as social troubles among Aboriginal kids experiencing interpersonal racism. Another study was conducted that exhibited the impact of racism on the social as well as emotional prosperity of Aboriginal Australian kids age 6 to 12 years. Racism in childhood can contribute to the perpetuation of the effect of intergenerational racism experiences. Kids and youngsters are considered especially defenseless against the destructive impacts of racial discrimination as a psychosocial stressor. There is developing logical agreement that youth affliction and stress impact wellbeing significantly both in adolescence as well as later in life, including physical and psychological well-being and cardiovascular, metabolic, and insusceptible capacity. Most of the investigations done on racial discrimination and youngster as well as youth wellbeing have inspected negative psychological well-being results, especially revealing a critical relationship with youth depression. A survey conducted including 263 primary as well as secondary understudies from various racial/ethnic foundations in Victoria, Australia, discovered significant levels of perceived racial discrimination with at least one type of racism experienced legitimately by 32.2% of the sample month to month or more, and by 22.1% consistently every day. Assimilation Policy of 1961 has labeled education as a major instrument of assimilation of aboriginal children. However, these results of racism faced by the Indigenous children do not reflect the intent of the Assimilation Policy of 1961.

Reflection of Australian Indigenous Men, Women, and Children

Therefore, the above report gave me an insight into Indigenous men, women as well as children in Australia. I found out that the pre-invasion period offered good conditions for medical services conveyance since medical care was completely in the possession of traditional healers. The post-invasion period required the specific usage of strategies and conventions including the Assimilation Policy. I believe the suggestions in the policy should be audited and surveyed before execution to wipe out incongruities that emerge from disregarding the culture of Indigenous Australians. I found out the current wellbeing status of Indigenous Australians is mediocre when contrasted with the health of the non-indigenous Australians. Thus, as a nurse, I must work with the Indigenous people of Australia in a culturally safe way to close the gap. Above all else, I would reflect on my practices as well as an area of care that belittle the privilege of Indigenous individuals in Australia. Since cultural safety in wellbeing conveyance requires the nurses to reflect their practices and the thought of the relevant areas that disparage the privileges of the older Indigenous Australian patients. I should wipe out the force associated with differentials amongst them. Moreover, the patient develops an understanding of proficient qualities. It is about the biomedical wellbeing framework, as well as refers to colonial history. This report likewise made me mindful that nurses ought to diminish power differentials by viewing all patients as equivalent. In this manner, I won't treat any patient in unrivaled manners as these will elevate the impacts of racism. Also, I would develop profitable and viable associations with patients, which encourage appropriate communication. Every one of these activities will be pointed toward guaranteeing that I don't belittle the Indigenous Australians in the arrangement of medical care following the standards of the policy of assimilation. To close the gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians, I would display cultural capacities by developing relevant abilities. It is based on the informational conduct that improves the secondary consideration given to the patients. It is believed that nurses are instrumental in spanning the existent gap in the conveyance of ideal renal care to Aboriginal patients, especially the old. Therefore, I will follow my duty appropriately to fill this gap. I will take part in instruction programs pointed toward the disposing and adjusting of the nurses. During the arrangement of care to old patients, I ought to abstain from decreasing and belittling them on their social and moral foundation. Thus, I would maintain the dignity of my patient and provide them with patient-centered care by which I can work in a culturally safe way with Indigenous Australian people to help in closing the gap.

References for Australian Indigenous Men, Women, and Children

Alhusen, J.L., Bower, K.M., Epstein, E. & Sharps, P. 2016. Racial discrimination and adverse birth outcomes: an integrative review. Journal of midwifery & women's health61(6), pp.707-720. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12490

Australian Government 2013, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023, viewed 22nd September 2020 https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/B92E980680486C3BCA257BF0001BAF01/$File/health-plan.pdf

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, Maternal deaths in Australia Maternal deaths in Australia 2008–2012 AIHW 2008–2012, viewed 22nd September 2020 https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/07bba8de-0413-4980-b553-7592089c4c8c/18796.pdf.aspx?inline=true

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016, Australia's mothers and babies 2014—in brief, viewed 22nd September 2020 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/australias-mothers-babies-2014-in-brief/contents/table-of-contents

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020, Indigenous Australians, viewed 22nd September 2020 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/population-groups/indigenous-australians/overview

Bonello, M. 2015. Maternal deaths in Australia 2008–2012.

Calma, T., Dudgeon, P. & Bray, A. 2017. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. Australian Psychologist52(4), pp.255-260. doi:10.1111/ap.12299

Kildea, S., Tracy, S., Sherwood, J., Magick‐Dennis, F. & Barclay, L. 2016. Improving maternity services for Indigenous women in Australia: moving from policy to practice. Medical Journal of Australia205(8), pp.374-379. doi: 10.5694/mja16.00854

Lino, D. 2017. The Indigenous Franchise and Assimilation. Australian Historical Studies, 48(3), pp.363-380. https://doi.org/10.1080/1031461X.2017.1313875

Lovett, R. 2017. A 2 history of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care, p.28.

Macedo, D.M., Smithers, L.G., Roberts, R.M., Paradies, Y. & Jamieson, L.M. 2019. Effects of racism on the socio-emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Australian children. International journal for equity in health, 18(1), p.132. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-019-1036-9

Phelan, J.C. & Link, B.G. 2015. Is racism a fundamental cause of inequalities in health?. Annual Review of Sociology, 41, pp.311-330. doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-073014-112305

Phillips, M.G. and Osmond, G. 2018. Australian Indigenous Sport Historiography: A Review. Kinesiology Review7(2), pp.193-198. doi: https://doi.org/10.1123/kr.2018-0007

Prehn, J. 2019. How social work can improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal men. Our Voices: Aboriginal Social Work, p.157.

Priest, N., Thompson, L., Mackean, T., Baker, A. & Waters, E. 2017. ‘Yarning up with Koori kids’–hearing the voices of Australian urban Indigenous children about their health and well-being. Ethnicity & health, 22(6), pp.631-647. https://doi.org/10.1080/13557858.2016.1246418

Rosenthal, L., Earnshaw, V.A., Moore, J.M., Ferguson, D.N., Lewis, T.T., Reid, A.E., Lewis, J.B., Stasko, E.C., Tobin, J.N. & Ickovics, J.R. 2018. Intergenerational Consequences: Women’s Experiences of Discrimination in Pregnancy Predict Infant Social-Emotional Development at Six Months and One Year. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP39(3), p.228. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000529

Shepherd, C.C., Li, J., Cooper, M.N., Hopkins, K.D. & Farrant, B.M. 2017. The impact of racial discrimination on the health of Australian Indigenous children aged 5–10 years: analysis of national longitudinal data. International journal for equity in health, 16(1), p.116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-017-0612-0

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