People Needs Country: the symbiotic effects of landcare and wellbeing for Aboriginal peoples and their countries

Rudi Louis Taylor-Bragge, Theoni Whyman, Laura Jobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: An innate connection to traditional land is often central to Australian Aboriginal culture. The aim of this study was to explore the symbiotic links between the health of Australian Aboriginal peoples and their Country. Method: This study utilised a multiple case-study design to extract common themes from four cases of Aboriginal land management, which typify different major ecoregions found throughout Australia and featured Aboriginal voices discussing land management and Aboriginal wellbeing. Results: Aboriginal wellbeing was consistently linked to the promotion of integrated landcare programs. Engaging with cultural landcare practices was perceived as beneficial to both Aboriginal peoples and their Country. Landcare was found to complement better physical and mental health in addition to community and individual wellbeing. An ongoing narrative describing the symbiotic nature of “healthy Country; healthy people” was established. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that caring for Country may be beneficial for the social and emotional wellbeing of Australian Aboriginal peoples and demonstrate that further research in this area is needed. Key Points What is already known about this topic: A deep, innate connection to traditional land is often central to Australian Aboriginal peoples. Settler-colonial practices have disrupted Aboriginal peoples’ connection to Country. Aboriginal wellbeing is holistic and includes connection to Country. What this topic adds: Engaging with traditional cultural landcare practices was seen as beneficial to both Aboriginal peoples and their Country. Landcare complemented better physical and mental health in addition to community and individual wellbeing; “healthy Country; healthy people”. Further research in this area is needed to develop strength-based psychological models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-471
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Volume56
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • caring for Country
  • landcare
  • social and emotional wellbeing

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