Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 36: Assessing Poverty, Gender and Well-being in ‘Northern’ Indigenous Communities
Janet Hunt Indigenous people are among the poorest, most marginalised people in the world. There are some 370 million indigenous people globally, many of whom would be among the billion categorised as the absolute poor. Even in the developed settler state countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States (USA), this marginalisation and relative poverty remains the case (see Tonkiss, Chapter 22, this volume). The social consequences are that in Australia, for example, life expectancy and other social indicators for indigenous people may rank with those of much poorer developing countries, such as Cambodia and Bangladesh. Such countries are ‘developed’ but within, there are pockets of extreme poverty and marginalisation. However, there are different perceptions about what development and poverty mean in indigenous communities compared to Western social science measures. Unless we understand these perceptions our efforts to reduce poverty and increase well-being may be misdirected and ultimately unsuccessful. Equally, there may be gendered differences within indigenous communities which are rarely attended to, as the emphasis on the differences in economic and social outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous populations in such settler societies is the dominant type of analysis. Differences within indigenous populations are rarely explored. In this chapter I investigate what indigenous people themselves see as important dimensions of their well-being, and how conceptualisations of gender differences in indigenous communities may vary from standard Western measures. I refer briefly to New Zealand efforts to generate Maori measures of well-being, and recent Australian and Canadian efforts to...
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