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How Australia’s Indigenous people are positioned within health service sites by our presence and by our absence

By Bronwyn L. Fredericks


De Certeau (1984) constructs the notion of belonging as a sentiment which develops over time through the everyday activities. He explains that simple everyday activities are part of the process of appropriation and territorialisation and suggests that over time belonging and attachment are established and built on memory, knowledge and the experiences of everyday activities. Based on the work of de Certeau, non-Indigenous Australians have developed attachment and belonging to places based on the dispossession of Aboriginal people and on their everyday practices over the past two hundred years. During this time non-Indigenous people have marked their appropriation and territorialisation with signs, symbols, representations and images. In marking their attachment, they also define how they position Australia’s Indigenous people by both our presence and our absence. This paper will explore signs and symbols within spaces and places in health services and showcase how they reflect the historical, political, cultural, social and economic values, and power relations of broader society. It will draw on the voices of Aboriginal women to demonstrate their everyday experiences of such sites. It will conclude by highlighting how Aboriginal people assert their identities and un-ceded sovereignty within such health sites and actively resist on-going white epistemological notions of us and the logic of patriarchal white sovereignty

Topics: 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous, health, services, place, space, sites
Year: 2010
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