Consequences of colonialism: A microbial perspective to contemporary Indigenous health

Emily Skelly, Kostas Kapellas, Alan Cooper, Laura S. Weyrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nearly all Indigenous populations today suffer from worse health than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and despite interventions against known factors, this health “gap” has not improved. The human microbiome—the beneficial, diverse microbial communities that live on and within the human body—is a crucial component in developing and maintaining normal physiological health. Disrupting this ecosystem has repercussions for microbial functionality, and thus, human health. In this article, we propose that modern-day Indigenous population health may suffer from disrupted microbial ecosystems as a consequence of historical colonialism. Colonialism may have interrupted the established relationships between the environment, traditional lifeways, and microbiomes, altering the Indigenous microbiome with detrimental health consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-437
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume167
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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