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‘It’s been a long hard fight for me’: the stolen generations and narratives of poor health in Australia 1883-2009

Public health Indigenous health Diseases Alcohol Australia New Zealand

Health, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), can be defined as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ Using this definition of health, and others, as guiding principles, this thesis takes a thematic approach in order to demonstrate how nineteenth and twentieth-century Australian government policies have influenced the health of Indigenous Australians today.

The four key themes investigated are alienation, mental illness, alcohol abuse, and crime. By weaving the narratives taken from a number of published oral interviews, testimonies from Bringing them home: report of the national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and Telling our Story: a report by the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (Inc) on the removal of Aboriginal children from their families in Western Australia, and other edited collections, this thesis argues that from the perspective of numerous members of the Stolen generations, the forcible removal of Aboriginal children and the subsequent feelings of alienation produced by removal, have had significant and on-going implications for the current state of poor health within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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