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date: 06 December 2023

Indigenous Health and Connection to Countrylocked

Indigenous Health and Connection to Countrylocked

  • Alister Thorpe, Alister ThorpeUniversity of Melbourne
  • Aryati Yashadhana, Aryati YashadhanaUniversity of New South Wales - Sydney
  • Brett Biles, Brett BilesUniversity of New South Wales - Sydney
  • Emily Munro-HarrisonEmily Munro-HarrisonUniversity of Melbourne
  •  and Jonathan KingsleyJonathan KingsleySwinburne University of Technology


There are an estimated 370 million Indigenous peoples living in more than 70 countries. Indigenous populations are defined as the First Peoples occupying countries or regions at times of colonization, with distinct cultural, religious, and social practices that distinguish them from other populations. Indigenous peoples across the globe have deep, intimate, holistic, localized, and reciprocal relationships and connections to their “Country” (as it is known in Australia), which includes elements of the land, sea, waterways, sky, stars, and living and nonliving entities. This relationship is largely unacknowledged through Western biomedical models of health, which tend to focus on individual risk behaviors and disease outcomes, thereby situating Indigenous health inequities in terms of deficiency and ignoring the ongoing impacts and trauma of colonization. Indigenous concepts of health are holistic, encompassing emotional, physical, cultural, and spiritual health. Country is central to health and is steeped in the harmonized interrelationships that constitute cultural well-being. Models for measuring and understanding health outcomes for Indigenous peoples need to respectfully incorporate the full range of determinants that are relevant to their health that understand the importance of connection to Country.


  • Global Health
  • Public Health Policy and Governance

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