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Indigenous Australians and their history

Question:

Discuss About The Indigenous Community And Rest Australia?

Before European colonisation, there were individuals who moved out from the groups of individuals who lived in Australia and the neighbouring islands; they are commonly known as Indigenous Australians. However, they are not a single group but large number of people with diverse culture, opinion and values. Torres Strait Islanders who originated from Torres Strait Island, part of Queensland and Aboriginal people who originated from almost all of the rest parts of Australia are the two separate groups who are referred as Indigenous Australians. Some of over 700 languages spoken by Australian at the time of colonization are even now spoken by these groups.

 Owing to recurring climatic changes indigenous people lived a nomadic life before the advent of Europeans and did not stay at a particular place for a long time. In order to have regular supply of food, they administered frail surroundings cautiously. In today’s scenario most of aboriginals resides in towns, cities and suburbs in vulnerable circumstances. Due to pilfering of their land, lot of indigenous people are employed in livestock ranches. However, several of them continue to hunt and reside on their terrain. Following incursion by the Britishers, most of their land was taken over (Survival. 2016) which adversely affected them physically and mentally and caused several diseases which in turn reduced their population.

In this discussion, we will take mental health issues, depression and smoking into consideration and how they adversely affect Indigenous Australians more than non-Indigenous people.

Presently, Indigenous community accounts for around 3 percent of total Australian inhabitants (Discover Stories. 2015). They not only reside in suburbs but also in main towns and cities; almost 208,500 indigenous people are in New South Wales making it the largest state with such people and maximum ratio which is 30 percent in North Territory. However, 744,956 of these inhabitants are projected to be residing in Australia as per data collected from 2011 consensus. The Indigenous population comprises more of young people than old ones as compared to non-indigenous people. It is anticipated that in the year 2006, age of partial non –Indigenous inhabitants were 37 years or fewer  which was 21years or fewer in case of indigenous inhabitants (Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2010). Also, in the year 2011, 90% of Aboriginals, 6% of Torres Strait Islander and 4% of both Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander together were recognized as Indigenous individuals.

Indigenous Australians and their present

The above figure clearly shows percentage of population with respect to each age group. Indigenous population more concentrated in lower age groups with the percentage of non-indigenous population scattered through different age groups.

Moving forward, if we take into consideration births and deaths of these people as compared to other Australians, there is a great disparity. Non Australians females had 1.8 births in their lifespan which was around 2.3 births in the lifespan of indigenous females, as estimated in the year 2015 with total births of approximately 18,537 and total deaths estimated to be 3,088. It is also projected that the male population born in the year 2010-2012 of such people are possible to live around 69 years which is around 10 years younger than the other Australian population and amongst the females the age expected is 74 years which is 83 for other Australian females.

Indigenous operational age people engaged in labour power accounted for 56% as per census date 9th August 2011; still 17.2% which was one out of every six of them were out of work (Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2013). These particular figures were adverse as compared to non Indigenous ones. Unemployment rate amongst them is over three times greater than rest of the Australians. More of young age groups accounts for the working population amongst them. Also, there is a disparity amongst their men and women as far as unemployment is concerned.

Globally, Indigenous culture is considered as the ancient existing culture. Their culture is diversified with people communicating in several dissimilar languages. They have distinctive artistic capabilities and their work particularly modern art is well known worldwide. However, due to ecological changes, its culture has changed and evolved through these years.

However, the overall health of Indigenous people depends on the environment in which they reside which comprises of factors such as pollution control, water supply, healthy food, sufficient infrastructure etc. Huge discrimination is faced by Indigenous people as far as these factors and their health is concerned. Poor infrastructure and disparate admittance to hospitals are the main reasons for heath disparity between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2007).

The main issue of the discussion is the health disparity and causes of the same between Indigenous and the other communities in Australia. Health of the said community is the communal, psychological and literary safety rather than only the corporal wellbeing of individuals. It is the safety, honesty and synchronization of a person as well as the society. The difference between the health condition of Indigenous and rest of community also depends on factors that affect social structure such as education, basis of earnings, the amount of earnings etc. Indigenous people are not provided equivalent prospect to be healthy as compared to others. As far as continuing proceedings like life expectation is concerned, no development on such issue has been taken. Thus, being secluded from conventional services and lesser admission to health services and pitiable infrastructure are the major reasons of disparities between the communities.

Disparities in Health

In this particular discussion, we will consider mental health , depression and smoking as the health indicators affecting the Indigenous community and how these indicators more adversely affects them as compared to the other communities. Indigenous are more likely to suffer from mental agony owing to social and monetary inequitable conditions. Mental illness is defined as a substantial emotional disorder which affects a person and causes major pain. According to a survey conducted on youngsters mental health is amongst top three problems faced in the country in past 15 years wherein cultural inequity is faced by one out of five teenage Indigenous people and prejudice is faced by one out of seven teenage females (Knaus. 2016).

As per report issued in the year 2014, there has been a striking rise in mental ailment, anxiety and depression amongst young Indigenous criminals and perinatal psychological issues in females (Korff. 2017). Indigenous Australians were expected to be suffering and hospitalized two times more from psychological and behavioural ailment than others in the year 2003-04. Depression mainly affects individuals suffering from psychological strain. It is estimated in the past 15years around 33% of the said population experienced huge level of mental stress and affected more females than males. Reports also show that young Indigenous people which are approximately 26% are more prone to be affected by dementia as compared to rest of the community. Another mental issue wherein an individual fails to differentiate between actual and imaginary, suffers from hallucinations is categorized as Schizophrenia. Indigenous community is more likely to suffer from the said mental ailment.

Smoking is the major reason of persistent diseases amongst Indigenous Australia. Not only men but over half of females are addicted to smoking in the said community. While there has been decrease in the overall smoking rates in Australia, Indigenous people smoking rates are still higher ranging between 43% to 54% (Kroff. 2016). There are several causes of the widespread extent of mental illness, depression and smoking amongst the said community. Because of the disownment of land at the time of the incursion and diverse cultural differences, Indigenous community majorly suffers from extreme sorrow and failure unlike the rest of the community. There has been a measure taken by the government for the continual taking away of children which increases psychological pressure amongst them. Since the said community has been suffering from mental trauma, depression and other mental disorders are more likely to develop and be passed on to the future generation which is unlikely in case of other communities. There has been huge incidence of cultural discrimination against the said community which adversely affects their emotional wellbeing. With very less employment opportunities, they are constantly stressed about their monetary stability. Out of all Indigenous Australians, 23 % are believed to be suffering from both mental as well as physical illness. Thus, pitiable physical health automatically increases the stress an individual face which is not the case of rest of the community.  Unawareness of the possible impact of smoking and lack of education accounts for increased smoking rates. Also, huge number of Indigenous people are in prison and faces violence there as well as on domestic front accounting for increase in depression and other mental diseases.

Mental Health and Indigenous Australians

Conclusion

At the end, we conclude that there is a vast inequality amongst Indigenous Australians and the rest of the community as far as health is concerned. In this discussion we particularly took mental illness, depression and smoking to explain such disparity. However, not only these but there are great disparities faced by the said community as far as other major health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases etc are concerned. It is clear from the above discussion that Indigenous Australians are treated differently from other Australians. The infant mortality rate is also higher in case of Indigenous population in Australia. Deterioration of their health started with the colonization which caused several diseases like typhoid, influenza etc. There were more adverse affects in terms of destitution and racial discrimination which triggered more deterioration.

Racism is considered as one of the major cause of depression. Loss of their own property and neglect has further aggravated their health issues. Moving forward, as discussed above with an increased unemployment rates amongst young Indigenous people it in turn increased mental unrest amongst them. There are a number of socio economic inequalities in factors that affects their health. The affect of such factors are comparatively lasting. These factors not only cause mental disorders but have an adverse impact on their circulatory, immunity and hormonal functions. Lack of education reduces their potential to use health care services. Also, with low earnings they cannot afford proper health services. Indigenous Australians also has poor and congested housing infrastructure which causes contagious diseases. These problems are not faced by non-Indigenous ones.

It is estimated that the main cause of major diseases amongst Indigenous people is smoking in the year 2011(Australian Indigenous HealthInfo Net. 2016). Ignorance amongst people about impact of smoking on their health is the major reason of increased rates. Getting earnings in tobacco instead of cash aggravates the problem. With people living in congested houses, smoking affects children inertly. Increased smoking rates are majorly liable for increased inequity which is around 23% in health amongst the communities. Hence to summarize the above points, numerous factors are responsible for health disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and rest of Australia and proper measures should be undertaken by individuals as well as the government to remove such gap. By providing proper health care services, proper employment opportunities and education, improving household as well as health care infrastructure, making people more aware of adverse affects of tobacco and drugs, removing racial discrimination and by giving ownership of land and proper guidance related to health can definitely reduce the gap between health disparity amongst the communities

References:

Survival (2016). Aboriginal people. Retrieved from https://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/aboriginals

Discover Stories. (2015). Who are Indigenous Australians?. Retrieved from https://www.australianstogether.org.au/stories/detail/who-are-indigenous-australians-4

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010). 4713.0- Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006. Retrieved form https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Lookup/4713.0Explanatory%20Notes12006?OpenDocument.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). 4102.0- Australian Social Trends, Nov 2013. Retrieved form https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Nov+2013#PARTICIPATIONANDUNEMPLOYMENT

Australian Human Rights Commission (2007). Social determinants and the health of Indigenous peoples in Australia- a human rights based approach. Retrieved from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/social-determinants-and-health-indigenous-peoples-australia-human-rights-based

Korff (2017). Mental health and Aboriginal people. Retrieved from http https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/health/mental-health-and-aboriginal-people

Korff (2016). Aboriginal smoking: a serious health problem. Retrieved from https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/health/aboriginal-smoking-a-serious-health-problem

Australian Indigenous Healthinfo Net (2016). Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Retrieved from https://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/summary#population

Knaus (2016). Mental health is one of main issues facing Australia, says youth survey. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/dec/05/mental-health-is-one-of-main-problems-facing-australia-says-youth-surve

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