Discussion paper

Canada–Australia Indigenous health and wellness racism working group

Discussion paper and literature review
Aboriginal Australians Indigenous peoples Racism Australia Canada

This discussion paper was commissioned by the Canada-Australia Indigenous Health and Wellness Working Group. The aim of the Working Group is to identify priorities related to Indigenous health and wellbeing for bi-national collaboration and action. One of the main priorities identified for collaboration and action is the need to address racism. A sub-group was established to address this priority and to develop this discussion paper.

The aim of the discussion paper, which also functions as a literature review, is to share knowledge and influence bi-national action to address racism experienced by Indigenous peoples of Canada and Australia.

Its objectives are:
• to describe the evidence pertaining to the state of race relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia and Canada 
• to identify and describe the factors that contribute to addressing racism in both countries
• to identify and recommend areas for further investigation.

As a discussion paper and a literature review, this work privileges Indigenous peoples, stories and experiences of racism.

Key Findings:

  • The grey literature on race and racism from both Canada and Australia has a number of striking similarities that speak to the ways both countries were colonised. Racialised stereotypes appear pervasive and draw on a reservoir of negative images that can be traced back to colonisation.
  • We can see the crucial nature of Indigenous-led anti-racism as opposed to an anti-racism that has a celebration of diversity as its principal aim.
  • Any anti-racist measure in a settler-colonial context must surely always insist on the provision of a historical context, as highlighted by some health approaches discussed in this discussion paper, before the introduction or continuance of any governmental practice in respect of Indigenous peoples.
  • Social media is a critical forum in which an extensive and dynamic network of Indigenous academics, activists and community members engage with critical race. Often these exchanges foreground events and issues that cannot be addressed in the slower-to-print academic journals.
Publication Details
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