Published in the peer-reviewed Health Promotion Journal of Australia, this paper by Dr Alyssa Vass, Alice Mitchell, and Yurranydjil Dhurrkay, all ARDS staff, explores the influence of language and worldview on health literacy for Indigenous peoples.
This article delineates specific issues relating to health literacy for Indigenous Australians. Drawing on the extensive experience of the authors work with Yolŋu 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 Yolŋu 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. Key words: health literacy, health belief, health education, health promotion, Indigenous
Citation: Vass, A, Mitchell, A, Dhurrkay, Y. "Health literacy and Australian Indigenous peoples: an analysis of the role of language and worldview." Health Promotion Journal of Australia 22.1 (2011): 33-37.