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Granny Rights: Combatting the granny burnout syndrome among Australian Indigenous communities

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Jan Hammill argues that family dysfunction is widespread in contemporary western society but is even more so in impoverished Indigenous communities forcibly stripped of their cultural practices. Alcohol and illicit and prescription drugs have become coping elixirs for profound feelings of despair and hopelessness which is then manifested in high rates of child abuse and neglect, interpersonal violence, suicide and early death. Increasingly the impact is borne most heavily by those whose values were programmed in another era, the grandmothers and great grandmothers. The author argues that the rights of Indigenous communities are closely linked to maintaining the health of the grandmothers or ‘grannies’ through increasing their knowledge base of health-related issues and implementing participant-identified interventions. Working with grannies who are the central care givers of children might also buy time for communities to find ways to regenerate.Development (2001) 44, 69–74. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1110240

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1Centre for Public Health Research, School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2001


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