Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Review of Indigenous male health

Indigenous males have been wounded by the numerous impacts since colonisation which devalued Indigenous culture, dispossessed and dislocated Indigenous families and communities and introduced diseases. Indigenous males lost their well-defined, meaningful roles with authority and status, and young males lost their positive, aspirational role models. Initially, Indigenous male authority and knowledge were disenfranchised. This marginalisation is perpetuated in the current situation, where many Indigenous men have been deprived of their provider role. In turn, this diminishes the status, self-esteem and sense of purpose of Indigenous males.

This has profound implications for their health by engendering high levels of alcohol abuse, self-harm and violence. It has inter-generational consequences, bringing dysfunction to family life and providing a model of masculinity with little that is attractive or challenging. As a consequence, there is little incentive for boys to participate in schooling, training and work that prepares them for adult male roles. The cycle of male disenfranchisement, demoralisation and poor health is thus perpetuated.

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