Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing

Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing Presentations

Discussion Paper Series

  • Author(s): Grieves, V
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

Abstract: Although this discussion paper has been developed for people working within health practice, as it explains, the wholistic philosophical basis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that encompasses wellbeing has applications in every area of engagement with Indigenous Australian people. It addresses both the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health’s (CRCAH) research outcome to ‘explore how spirituality/beliefs/systems of value contribute to Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing’, and the CRCAH’s stated goal of health outcomes through: Providing evidence that can be used by services and individual practitioners that address the social, emotional and cultural needs of Aboriginal communities, and which promote the resilience of children, youth and families. The evidence provided in this discussion paper is about the nature of Aboriginal Spirituality, its relationship to wellbeing, and the ramifications of this to the application of social and emotional wellbeing policy and programs in Australian Aboriginal communities. The literature review for this paper has been comprehensive, sourcing a range of literature across disciplines that are concerned with this phenomenon, including Aboriginal philosophy and the range of expressions and practices that occur in the lives of individuals—despite living in a colonial regime. Literature that assists us to understand the complex interplay of cultures within a settler colonial society has also been sourced, including history, anthropology and social theory. A background and understanding of Spirituality as the philosophical basis of Aboriginal wellbeing, as offered here, will be of assistance to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians alike in redressing the damage done to Aboriginal people under colonialism. Importantly, and as will become clear, any discussion of Aboriginal Spirituality has direct ramifications for understandings of wellbeing, including social and emotional wellbeing.

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