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.
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