Indigenous Health: Health and healing

Guide to information resources and services for Indigenous health

Health and healing

In a discussion of Indigenous health beliefs Taylor and Guerin state:

From an Indigenous perspective, health has little to do with the physical state and much more to do with social and emotional states, but this does not necessarily mean there is no common ground to be found. Health for Indigenous Peoples is commonly accepted as being linked, body to land. (2010, p. 93)

Related topics:

  • Connecting country and culture to health and wellbeing
  • Aboriginal healer
  • Bush medicine 
  • Social determinants of health
  • Primary health care
  • Public health approaches to chronic disease
  • Preventive health


National Aboriginal Health Strategy, 1989

“Aboriginal health” means not just the physical well-being of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total well-being of their Community. It is a whole-of-life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life.

Health care services should strive to achieve the state where every individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being and this bring about the total well-being of their community.”

From Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council - see website for definitions of related terms

Research article:
Indigenous and tribal peoples' health (The Lancet–Lowitja Institute Global Collaboration): a population study (2016)

Our data (23 countries, 28 populations) provide evidence of poorer health and social outcomes for Indigenous peoples than for non-Indigenous populations. However, this is not uniformly the case, and the size of the rate difference varies.


Connecting country and culture to health and wellbeing

Indigenous ecological calendars (CSIRO)

Indigenous Australians Caring for Country (Australian Government - Department of the Environment)

Aboriginal Fishing (Victoria - Department of Environment and Primary Industries)

First Footprints (search title in Informit EduTV) – This four part documentary series explores the story of how people arrived and thrived on our continent. With startling new archaeological discoveries revealing how the first Australians adapted, migrated, fought and created in dramatically changing environments.

  • Super Nomads - Ep 1 of 4
  • The Great Drought - 30,000 To 15,000 Years Ago - Ep 2 of 4
  • The Great Flood - 18,000 to 5,000 Years Ago - Ep 3 of 4
  • The Biggest Estate - 9,000 Years Ago to 1788 - Ep 4 of 4

Message Stick: Caring For Country - Episodes 1 and 2 (search title in Informit EduTV)

Australian Indigenous Film and Television Digital Bibliography, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University