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University of Sydney | B Design [Arch] | Design Practice 3A | March 2006. The role of health and fitness in traditional & contemporary Aboriginal society. By Alina McConnochie, Martin Hall, Michelle Mo & Phuong Le. Definitions of Health.
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By Alina McConnochie, Martin Hall, Michelle Mo & Phuong Le
‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’
World Health Organisation (1946)
‘not just the physical well-being or the individual but the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community’
National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party (1989)
The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 1999, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Commonwealth of Australia
The presentation will address changing perceptions and practices of health and fitness in Aboriginal society in three main eras.
1S. Saggers “Aboriginal Health and Society” Allen & Unwin, North Sydney, 1991, p44
Traditionally, an Aboriginal healer/doctor would identify disease with one of four basic explanations2 and healing would be undertaken with a spiritual ritual.
2 Clements 1932 from S. Saggers “Aboriginal Health and Society” Allen & Unwin, North Sydney, 1991, p42
3S. Saggers “Aboriginal health and society” Allen & Unwin, North Sydney, 1991, p43
By Kunmanara Nelson
Long time ago the people had many healthy animals to hunt and eat in their country. The game that they hunted and ate kept them healthy and strong. They were nomadic people and travelled around in their own country in search of wild game and bush foods.
Then recently, Europeans came and gave the people food of their own; they gave alcohol too, which led people to becoming heavy drinkers. Then others became diabetics from eating and drinking too much sugar, others got diarrhoea and became very sick. There were many other diseases which Aboriginal people started to get. Many people repeatedly became sick and had to be evacuated to Alice Springs on the Royal Flying Doctor plane to receive treatment and medicine.
Long ago the people lived on good healthy food and clean water. People only drank clean rock-hole and soakage water and ate good food without salt; this was why they did not have any sickness and skin sores. Their skin was healthy and scabies free. But today people have scabies and diabetes.
Healthy Aboriginal Life Team “Anangu way” Nganampa Health Council, Alice Springs, 1991, pp 70-71
J. Healey “Aboriginal Health and Welfare”, Spinney Press, Balmain, N.S.W. c2000, p. 7
FitnessInsight from interview with Michael, co-ordinator of The Settlement, a community based centre for disadvantaged children in the Redfern area.