The Health Gap Between Indigenous And Non-Indigenous People: Examining Hidden Factors

Factors Contributing to the Health Gap

The health gap between the Indigenous People and the non Indigenous People had continued to exist even the claims of the government to take effective initiatives for meeting the health gap had been declared (Goodman et al. 2017, pp: 89). On questions being asked about the factors that had been leading to the failure of the initiatives taken for the Closing of the gap policy, the answers that reach our ears are fund issues and lack of evidence-based goal setting with effective planning and meeting the needs and requirements of the Indigenous People. However, if close analysis are done, several hidden factors can be uncovered which have great contributions in the differences of health status of the Indigenous People and the Indigenous People (Treolar et al. 2016, pp:20). This essay would be mainly trying to shed more light on the hidden issues that would enable proper understanding of the presence of the gap in health status between the two populations.

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The question that one staying in the nation of Australia would have often come across is “Why don’t Aboriginal people take an interest in their own health?”. These are often heard in the working organizations, in the school premises, in the university classrooms, in the community centers, in the healthcare organizations and many others. It would be quite interesting to ask who mainly asks this question and the main background of them asking the questions (Clark & Agoustinos 2015, pp: 23). In most of the cases, if one tries to find the source from where such kind of questions emerges, it can be seen that those people with very poor cultural awareness and cultural knowledge are the main individuals. Famous researchers working on the topic had been seen to be stating that “Casual racism (or “everyday racism”) is much more subtle, and often an expression of common prejudices, an expression of “racism deep within”.  Gillian Triggs who is the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission had clearly stated that Australia had been always experiencing a very strong element of that of racism in the nation. It had been quite shocking to see that between the age of 2012 to that 2013, complaints on racial verification had increased by a whooping amount of 19% to the commission (Sabbioni et al. 2018, pp:23). If we try to shed more light on the people who are the main sources for these kinds of comments, revelations that are more shocking would be made. It has been found that about 505 of the non Indigenous People are of the opinion that Indigenous People are given unfair advantages by the government. About one in every five people are heard of saying that they would just move away if an Indigenous People sat next to them (Clark 2017, pp:1). Data had also shown that 10% of the non Indigenous People employers are of the opinion that they would not hire an Indigenous jobseeker. About more than one third of the person had been seen to believe that believe that the Indigenous People are somewhat lazy.

Racism and Discrimination in Healthcare

The non Indigenous People had shown racist behavior towards the non Indigenous People and the skin color had been one of the markers. The organization called “Beyond blue” had launched program where they had evidences of subtle racism put forward by non Indigenous People towards the Indigenous People. One in every ten non Indigenous People has been seen to tell a racial joke about an Indigenous Person without caring for the feelings of the latter. The organization had also found that subtle acts of discrimination, negative stereotypes as well as racist jokes and making different types of insensitive and offensive comments affect the lives of the Indigenous People largely. Therefore, the individuals who are seen to ask the questions are themselves the reasons why Indigenous People are having poor health and they cannot rely on the western healthcare system for support (Valeesii et al. 2018, pp: 25). The Indigenous People cannot take the chance of accessing healthcare from westerners as they believe that they would made get discriminated and stigmatized behaviors of the healthcare professionals and hence they tend to stay away from healthcare systems making them suffer more because of the disorders they need to care for. Researchers have out forward that racism has very negative effects causing poor health along with stress and negative emotional and cognitive reactions. They also get engaged in unhealthy activities along with being eposes to unhealthy risk factors like junk food, toxic substances, dangerous goods. They do not also use public services in different domains like housing, employment, education, medical care and many others. Trauma, societal distrust, avoidance of healthcare systems and many others are also seen to occur. Therefore, it is high time for the realization of such racist Indigenous People to develop cultural awareness, cultural knowledge and cultural sensitivity so that they reach to the root of the reason for their improper health and accordingly modify their behaviors (Benett 2015, pp:20).

It is very important for the people having confusion about the interest of the Indigenous People in their health matters to track down the cause to the history of the times of colonization. The history shows how the British colonial system had severely failed to the understanding as well as respecting and valuing the Indigenous People and such behavior and outlook of the colonial period had contributed to the large extent to the development of the cultural sensitivity among the non Indigenous People. The negative effects of the colonization are still having major impacts on the Indigenous People in their everyday lives in much drastic ways. The poor health of the native people are the result of the lingering injustices of the colonization. Dispossession , displacement as well as exploitation and even violence that had been exhibited by the colonizers had severely affected the native people over many centuries (Carey & McDermott 2017, pp:565). The social and economic impacts of invasion, and dispossession, marginalization as well as control of Indigenous People have been seen to be accumulated over generations. They were removed from their land forcibly along with complete acquisition of the and. alcohol was made available to them which affected their health and even did not disclose the negative impacts of alcohol. Sexual harassments of the women and children along with the outcome of the stolen generation all accumulated to negative health conditions of the growing generations of the Indigenous People in the history.  The Europeans brought different types of infectious diseases but no treatment were provided to the people that resulted in deaths of huge number of people. They were even heard to poison the after and food that the Indigenous People used to take. Mental emotional, physical as well as economical exploitation continued for many years that deteriorated the quality of the life of the native people largely (Brown et al. 2018, pp: 288).

History of Colonization and Its Impact

Therefore, on looking back at the question, it seems baseless being concerned about the interest of the native people about their health. The persons who had struggled to remain live in such periods of oppression and had fought with their utmost determination to stand as the barrier of destruction of their races and culture by the colonists had no option of living better quality lives with proper options of healthy and fit living. It might be because the successors of the non-native colonizers had failed to look back and reflect on the oppressions that had taken on the lives of the Indigenous People that had made them lead poor quality lives (Jongen et al. 2018, pp: 20). Therefore, the question itself reflects about the lack of wisdom and cultural knowledge of the non native people whose insensitive comments and culturally incompetent questions and activities reflect the darkness of their stigmatized and prejudices attributes and behaviors.

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The native people were seen to be living in a harmonious ways with the nature by utilization of the resources of their own lands, forests and grasslands and were maintaining their own world through their cultural traditions, preferences and inhibitions. The entry of the British colonizers not only affected their peaceful living but they also destroyed the resources by overutilization of them, exploitation of the people, financial and mental oppression and many others. There was once a time, when they were considered within the flora and fauna act that shows the degraded level that humanity. Therefore, the effect had combined through generation that had now resulted in several improper social determinants of health (Clark, Agostinous & Malin 2016. Pp: 45). These are improper education procedures, no scope of employments for them, lack of health illiteracy, high level of addiction towards alcohol and tobacco, mortality and morbidity rates among the mothers and the young children, inaccessibility to western healthcare. All these had resulted in poor health of the Indigenous People but they hardly had any options to develop their lifestyle (Paradies 2016, pp: 50).

From the above discussion, it is seen that it is mainly the stigmatization, discrimination and racism that forces people to ask these form of questions. It reflects their cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural knowledge about the native people. Therefore, instead of stigmatizing them about their healthcare behaviors, health literacy and many others, the native people, need to develop a broader perspective and view point, gain cultural knowledge and hence come to a conclusion about considering them interested in health care or not.

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