Health literacy and Australian Indigenous peoples: An analysis of the role of language and worldview

Alyssa Vass, Alice Mitchell, Yurranydjil Dhurrkay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


This article delineates specific issues relating to health literacy for Indigenous Australians. Drawing on the extensive experience of the authors' work with Yolnu people (of north east Arnhem Land) and using one model for health literacy described in the international literature, various components of health literacy are explored, including fundamental literacy, scientific literacy, community literacy and cultural literacy. By matching these components to the characteristics of Yolrju people, the authors argue that language and worldview form an integral part of health education methodology when working with Indigenous people whose first language is not English and who do not have a biomedical worldview in their history. Only through acknowledging and actively engaging with these characteristics of Indigenous people can all aspects of health literacy be addressed and health empowerment be attained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Health belief
  • Health education
  • Health literacy
  • Health promotion
  • Indigenous

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