colonization of the aboriginal people.
Colonization and subsequent invasion of the aboriginal people in Australia by the Europeans has a very significant orientation towards their health, living conditions as well as their general well-being. The real aspect of the well-being of these people is oriented not only to the physical fitness and body health, but extends to cultural uprightness, social and emotional perspective of the community in totality (Thomas,Nicholas 1994).
These aspects of the community well-being and its health as held traditionally by the aboriginal people, uphold traditional and cultural standards of living, making these people physically stronger and healthier than the colonial masters.
Amazingly with the arrival and consequent colonization and settlement of the Europeans things changed dramatically in favor of the Europeans and at the expense of the aboriginal people. The poor health of the Aboriginal people is clearly the result of the colonization and settlement of the Europeans. The colonizers introduced foreign lifestyles that destroyed the indigenous lifestyles with the result of the current poor health as well as the well being of the Aboriginal community today (Strathern, Marilyn 1994).
Real impact of colonization and settlement on the health and well being of Aboriginal people
The perception of health and individual well being by the colonizers totally contradicts that held by the indigenous Australians. The indigenous hardly welcomes the idea of hospitalization or even occasional visiting to hospitals as well as taking modern medicine,but rather visit traditional community herbalists and healers who make use of traditionally made medicines (Lockwood, Victoria 1993). The traditional life of the Aboriginal people was based on hunting wild animals as well as gathering in the natural fields, which was obstructed by the invasion and subsequent colonization and settlement by the Europeans (Strathern, Marilyn 1994). The initially diverse natural resources that maintained a well fed and properly treated Aboriginal community was therefore eroded as a result of colonization and settlement by the Europeans (Brock, Peggy 1993).
The colonization and subsequent settlement by the Europeans was also accompanied by the introduction and influx of foreign diseases, some of which were highly communicable and contagious. These diseases were initially non existent among the indigenous Australians. With the on set of these diseases therefore, the Aboriginal people had little immunity to the diseases (Thomas,Nicholas 1994). Subsequently the exposure of the Aboriginal people to these diseases led to their poorest state of health. Unlike the indigenous refusal to the use of modern medication, the Europeans readily made use of the modern techniques of treatment that improved their immunity to the new diseases, that included among others measles smallpox tuberculosis e.t.c (Birdsell, Joseph 1993).
There was thus an inverse variation between the health status as well as the social well being of the colonizers and the indigenous Aboriginal people. This also brought about an acute decline in the population of the Aboriginal people overtime. The decline was in the range of from a third of a million during the time of colonization to as little as about 74,000 years latter (Strathern, Marilyn 1994),a decrease of about three quarters.
Another devastating effect of colonization was the destruction of the traditional social cultural structures and patterns. This in effect broke the Aboriginal people’s kinship and bonds as well as mutual obligations leading to further imbalances in diverse fields of their life. Further the introduction of the strange diseases that they had no immunity to, complicated scenario, which in turn was further complicated by the government measures against further spread of these diseases more so to the Europeans (Brock, Peggy 1993). Such measures included the incarceration of the indigenous in densely populated places, which, to the disadvantage of the indigenous, rapid transmission and communication of these diseases was evident, due to the suitable environment brought about by overcrowding (Brock, Peggy 1993).
The situation was made even worse by the absence of basic facilities such as toilets bathrooms clean water among others. Further complication to the situation was a result of poor diet and dense population in the segregation camps (Thomas,Nicholas 1994). In the contrary, for the Europeans good diet and nutrition modern medication and sanitary living conditions were promoted. This favor extended to conducting medical examination to the Aboriginal people simply to safeguard the Europeans from contact with the infected Aboriginal people (Birdsell, Joseph 1993).
The suffering brought to the Aboriginal people left them with no option but to persevere and endure the European’s policies, denying them freedom to move and to choose a way of life for themselves. As they were torn between their ancient and introduced European culture, their emotional well-being was fast eroded leaving them frustrated as well as depressed. This made them careless on themselves as well as on their properties (Thomas,Nicholas 1994).
Initiatives that demonstrate the importance of cultural competence and self determination in the empowerment of the Aboriginal people
The most dramatic as well as devastating effect as well as the heavily felt consequence of colonization, and subsequent European settlement was the collapse and destruction of patterns of socio cultural structures of the colonial Aboriginal people (Strathern, Marilyn 1994). Before colonization, the Aboriginal people, out of the previous sovereignty, were effectively empowered in the sense of entire control of their lives (Strathern, Marilyn 1994).
The exposure of the past and the current living conditions to the affected people is very significant to the affected individuals, as it reduces the stigma associated with the scenario, leading to the empowerment of the affected people. The knowledge about the past and the present health status, as well as the available measures necessary to facilitate good health are all essential for the improvement of the health status, and the general well being of the Aboriginal people (Thomas,Nicholas 1994).
The community, in collaboration with the government are liable to raise policies with the basic aim to properly allocate the available resources aimed at developing sustainable curative as well as preventive measures. The health of the Aboriginal people is pegged on the appropriate education, quality governance, rule of law equitable participation in the government as well as economic development of the country (Thomas,Nicholas 1994).
The policy plans developed should address poverty brought about by poor health emotional depression as well as despair facing Aboriginal people as a result of demoted living standards. they should be empowered to manage their life affairs through the plans aimed at improving their future and live responsibly and uplift their socio economic welfare. The plans organization into specific target groups namely women, men, youth and children is of vital importance towards their success (Strathern, Marilyn 1994).
Birdsell, Joseph B 1993,Microevolutionary Patterns in Aboriginal Australia:A Gradient Analysis of Clines. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Brock, Peggy 1993, Outbreak Ghettos. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Hunter, Ernest, 1993,Aboriginal Health and History. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Lockwood, Victoria S, 1993, Transformation Gender and Capitalistic Development in a Rural Society. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers
Strathern,Marilyn 1993, Women in Between, Female Roles in a Male World. London:Rowman & Littlefield.
Thomas, Nicholas 1994, Colonialism Culture Anthropology, Travel and Government, Oxford: Polity Press.
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