Australia is home to the oldest continuing living culture in the entire world.
The richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia is something we should all take pride in as a nation.
However it is important to look at our history with openness and honesty. Since the colonisation of Australia by European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have experienced extreme hardships, ranging from the loss of traditional culture and homelands to the forced removal of children and denial of citizenship rights.
This history of injustice has meant that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have been denied access to basic human rights, such as rights to health, housing, employment and education.
Did you know that there were over 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at the time of colonisation? Of the 145 languages left, 110 are critically endangered.
Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
On average, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have a life expectancy that is 10- 17 years shorter than other Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants die at twice the rate of other Australians. What’s more, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer chronic diseases, such as heart disease, at much higher rates than in the non-Indigenous populations. This is a health crisis that should not be permitted to continue in a country as prosperous as Australia.
Do you want to help Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality?
Get more information and find out about how you can help to Close the Gap here:
Building a better nation for us all
Learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is important for moving forward and for all Australians to share in our national identity. It means understanding the past and looking to the future.
We have come a long way since 1788 and have taken significant steps towards reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian population. However there is still work to be done.
For instance, did you know that the Australian Constitution, our nation’s most important legal document, does not acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this country and still includes provisions to make discriminatory laws based on race?
Our Constitution should reflect our values of respect and fairness and recognise Australia’s rich Indigenous history and culture. To learn more about how this can be achieved click here: http://www.recognise.org.au/