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

F JOHNSTON, S Jacups, A Vickery, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    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. � 2007 Ecohealth Journal Consortium.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)489-499
    Number of pages11
    JournalEcohealth
    Volume4
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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    Civilization
    Biodiversity
    Health
    Poverty
    Health Policy
    Life Expectancy
    Motivation
    indigenous population
    Economics
    Observation
    Interviews
    Food
    Research
    educational attainment
    hunter-gatherer
    health policy
    fire management
    life expectancy
    civilization
    environmental degradation

    Cite this

    JOHNSTON, F., Jacups, S., Vickery, A., & Bowman, D. (2007). Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place. Ecohealth, 4(4), 489-499.
    JOHNSTON, F ; Jacups, S ; Vickery, A ; Bowman, David. / Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place. In: Ecohealth. 2007 ; Vol. 4, No. 4. pp. 489-499.
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    JOHNSTON, F, Jacups, S, Vickery, A & Bowman, D 2007, 'Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place', Ecohealth, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 489-499.

    Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place. / JOHNSTON, F; Jacups, S; Vickery, A; Bowman, David.

    In: Ecohealth, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2007, p. 489-499.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    JOHNSTON F, Jacups S, Vickery A, Bowman D. Ecohealth and Aboriginal testimony of the nexus between human health and place. Ecohealth. 2007;4(4):489-499.