Australian Indigenous People - Essay Example

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Culture and beliefs of Australian indigenous population represent a unique combination of historical and religious practices. For most tribes, culture is one of the main ways people express their identity and build their relations with the world. Culture embodies all aspects of human activities reflecting historical and social development of Australian indigenous population…
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Download file to see previous pages This survival of a close link between religion and health helps to understand the way Australian indigenous population tends to think and act. For instance, "the eating of clay or charcoal and a range of other substances might superficially be considered bizarre or at best to be of limited adaptive value, and this is reflected in a long and continuing debate about the benefits or otherwise of geophagy" (Rowland 2002, p. 51). Many indigenous tribes suppose that their healing culture reflects a person's identity and helps him/her to recover after certain rituals. Healing practices are used in a variety of ways in reference to a number of social traditions and values (Johns and Sanders 2005).
Many healing practices involve magical rituals based on sacred knowledge and beliefs. Unfortunately, most of such practices do not cure such diseases as cancer or diabetes which cause sufferings and deaths to indigenous population. Australian indigenous culture is based on a specific system of standards or rules a person attributes to the membership of the group as a result of his experience (Dudley 2004). According to cultural norms and traditions, many indigenous people reject modern health care and medical help relying on magical rituals and geophagy. (Indigenous Health 2007).
Unique cultural norms and values lead Australian indigenous population to such problems as sexually transmitted diseases and alcoholism. The lack of HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and quality care on reservations has encouraged Australian indigenous population to migrate from reservations to urban areas. Indigenous population is similar to that of society at large, with men representing 82.6 percent of the cases and men who have sex with men constituting the largest segment of Australian indigenous AIDS cases, 5%. The second largest exposure category for male adult/adolescents is men who have sex with men and inject drugs, 17%. Since males account for the largest portion of AIDS cases for Australian indigenous population, and men and women who have sex with men make up the main exposure category, it is critical that we focus our attention on this population to stop the further spread of HIV/AIDS in tribal communities (Indigenous Health 2007). Lack of understanding and discriminatory treatment of two-spirit men creates an environment where HIV/AIDS can spread unimpeded. Knowledge of gender and sexual variance in indigenous societies is limited, but what is known is that some tribal communities had more than male and female genders and participated in a variety of sexual orientations (Australian Indigenous 2007).
Poor health is closely connected with dietary patterns and crop technologies. In this case, diet represents "a product of human learning" which helps a person to organize his/her experience, including experience of other people (Briscoe 2005). For centuries, Australian indigenous population follows specific dietary patterns determined by cultivation practices and natural resources available to them. Critics admit that lack of minerals and vitamins is the main problem of many indigenous populations including the atrocious health. "Calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, nickel, manganese, cobalt and selenium are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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