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The health of Australias Indigenous peoples is documented to be of third world standard This paper identifies and highlights the factors that influence Aboriginal health and wellbeing It explores and analyses how Aboriginal health as a reflection of the broader social economic political and environmental factors is influenced by colonialism not just historically but as a living legacy It discusses the continuing influence of colonialism in Aboriginal health policy and practice and how this has been an obstacle to Aboriginal health improvement Strategies for health improvement guided by the principle of self-determination and primary health care are discussed Consideration is given to the voices of Aboriginal Health Workers on Aboriginal health issues and the importance of those voices as an expression of self-determination The negative influences of colonialism still exist today Broome 1994 pg 23 states the meeting of two people from different cultures is bound to be marked by misunderstanding The nature of exchanges and responses of Europeans and Indigenous Australians happened as a gradual process throughout the early 1800s The processes of colonisation had such an impact on those already here It is only now that non-indigenous Australians are starting to understand the breadth and magnitude of this process The notion of Terra Nullius was created and the great Southland was considered wasteland unoccupied and belonging to no one Reynolds 1987 pg 167 says Some settlers resolved the contradictions concerning the place of the Aborigines in European society by assuming that Australia had been before 1788 waste and uncultivated a terra nullius or land without owners Despite this common belief there was immediate resistance by Aboriginal people Where former history was once of passive agreement and welcoming to the foreshores history records the violent confrontations between Indigenous people and the colonialists with the overwhelming brutality of all but few of the new arrivals It is not possible to comprehend the current status of Aboriginal Health and wellbeing without first
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