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Medicine Keepers

Last updated: 23 September 1999

Medicine Keepers is an initiative to bring together Indigenous health workers from Montana (USA) and Queensland (Australia).


In all countries of the world, Indigenous people are and have been keepers of their traditional ways of life. Though marginalized by dominant cultures, they are an extremely valuable resource of traditional knowledge, practice and personal skills which not only may help to improve their health and living conditions, but the conditions of all people in their respective countries.

We've written a paper on Medicine Keepers: Issues in Indigenous Health, in which we examine the impact of non-Indigenous cultures and socio- economic systems on the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Within the context of the United Nations Decade on Indigenous Peoples (1994-2004), it seems more than appropriate to foster the exchange of information, experience, and practice between Indigenous people on bilateral and multilateral levels.

This proposal refers to Indigenous health in Australia and North America by considering the different historical paths of development in the respective regions, and referring to comparable experiences with mainstream cultures, and to ways and means regarding the improvement of living conditions of Indigenous people in these respective regions.

Medicine Keepers is the initiation point for international cooperation between Indigenous People of Montana (USA) and Queensland (Australia) with respect to health care, public health, health promotion, and education.

International and intercultural cooperation presents a long-term challenge, and Medicine Keepers is proposed to be the organizational framework for a series of meetings between Indigenous people from Montana and Queensland for the coming 5 years at least.


  1. to foster exchange and experiences between Indigenous People of America and Australia

  2. to develop partnerships in Indigenous health and health promotion between Indigenous people in Montana and Queensland.

  3. to create opportunities for education in health via distance education mode for undergraduates and post-graduates in health careers

  4. to exchange ideas and issues in environmental health with particular reference to improving environmental living conditions of Indigenous people in their respective countries.

Further information is available through:

Dr Lori A. Colomeda
Salish Kootenai College
P.O. Box 117
Pablo, MT 59855
Dr Eberhard Wenzel
Griffith University
School of Public Health
Meadowbrook, Qld. 4131

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